Small business operators who think they are exempt from unfair dismissal laws are mistaken, according to Miles Heffernan from Employer Advisors.
“Sometimes bosses incorrectly think that just because they’re a small operation, that they can sack employees without ever having to face unfair dismissal claims, but that’s simply not the case,” he said.
Since the introduction of the Fair Work Act back in 2009, employees covered by the National Employment Standards have been protected from unfair dismissal, but they must work a minimum period before they are eligible to make a claim.
For businesses that have fewer than 15 employees, the minimum employment period is 12 months. It is six months for all other businesses.
While an employee might not be able to bring an unfair dismissal claim against you if you sack them during their probationary period, that doesn’t mean they are not able to bring another claim against you.
For example, you can be accused of discrimination, or taking adverse action against them, and that can happen even if you don’t employ them.
A worker can also bring action for breach of contract if you sack them during their probationary period.
“If you are having problems with a difficult employee, or you are thinking of sacking a worker, it is always worth seeking professional advice before you take action,” Mr Heffernan said.
“An expert industrial relations professional can advise you of all the right steps to take to ensure you don’t end up in the Fair Work Commission having to defend a costly and time consuming unfair dismissal claim.”
If you need advice dealing with a difficult employee, or are planning to dismiss a worker, we can help.
Please call Employer Advisors on 1300 853 837.