Effective and Risk-Free Disciplinaries – A guide for Managers and Business owners
A business rightly expects certain standards of behavior, conduct and attendance from all its employees. Disciplinary action by an employer may be necessary in response to unsatisfactory performance or misconduct by an employee.
Disciplinary action covers counseling, warnings, and termination of employment. A disciplinary procedure provides a framework for dealing with instances where employees are alleged not to have met the required standards of conduct. The aim is to ensure prompt, consistent and fair treatment for all employees, and to assist in enabling both the employee and the business to be clear about the expectations of both parties.
Managing employees can be complex, but a claim-free and happy workplace with motivated, loyal, and productive employees, is possible through a few simple steps and a fair and transparent process, free from discrimination, or harsh, unjust or unfair treatment.
Under common law you, as a business owner, have the right to discipline an employee for engaging in misconduct. Common law is a system developed through decisions made by judges, rather than written in legislation or regulations.
Improperly handled disciplinary action can expose an employer to legal risk. Risks include findings of unfair dismissal, adverse action (such as unlawful termination), and discrimination. A successful claim against an employer can also lead to the imposition of financial penalties by Fair Work Australia, the reinstatement of an unfairly dismissed employee, and damage to the employer’s reputation.
The greatest risk for employers in having to terminate someone’s employment is the employee disputing the termination through one of four methods of claim:
- Unfair Dismissal
- General Protections/ Adverse Actions
- Breach of Contract