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5 ways to avoid an unfair dismissal claim

How can you protect yourself and avoid unfair dismissal claims? Implement these tips in your business to ensure the process has been fair. 

Unfair dismissal claims are not only time consuming, they can be costly to your business in both monetary and business reputation terms. As one of the most common employment claims, it’s important that your business has a solid strategy for how to avoid having an unfair dismissal claim occur.

Despite the risks involved in dismissing an employee, there are times when terminating an employee’s employment is needed. If you are heading down the path of needing to fire someone, it’s important to minimise the risk involved.

How can you protect yourself and avoid unfair dismissal claims? Implement these tips in your business to ensure the process has been fair.

Have clear policies  

Ensure that all new and current employees are given access to your company’s policies regarding harassment, dress code and attendance policies. Break down the policies into an easy-to-read format that includes steps that will be taken before termination. Have this information readily available to staff at any time.

These policies are not just there to keep employees informed, they are important reference points to use as the employer during the disciplinary process. Failing to follow your own processes could result in an unfair dismissal claim.

Implement a performance management plan  

If an employee shows performance related issues or engages in inappropriate workplace behaviour, act quickly. Don’t sack someone on the spot, as you need to give them a chance to improve. Unless there is clear evidence of them acting illegally at work or seriously breaching work safety.

In the first discussion with the employee set up a performance management plan to give them a chance to change their behaviour. This sets out what has to be achieved and how achievement will be measured and demonstrated.

Written warnings make it clear that the employee's employment is at risk unless performance improves.

Be respectful and understanding 

Unfair dismissal claims end up in court as the sacked worker feels humiliated, angry or underappreciated. While it’s not a pleasant experience to dismiss someone, the way you conduct yourself at that moment is vital. So be nice, sensitive, non-vindictive and above all else, fair.

Discuss any reasons for underperformance such as poor mental health, a lack of support or workplace bullying. If the behaviour is out of character for what you would normally expect of that employee take that into account.

Document employee conduct 

Without proper documentation a he-said-she-said argument can emerge and in these circumstances, it can be difficult to terminate an employee without the fear of an unfair dismissal claim.

Keep detailed records of the disciplinary and termination process. These records can make all the difference when it comes to defending an unfair dismissal claim.

Consider Employment Practices Liability Insurance 

Even if you follow all of the steps above, it can help to put your mind at ease by having appropriate cover against unfair dismissal claims.

Employment Practices Liability covers your company for claims alleging employment breaches. Including wrongful dismissal, discrimination, harassment, bullying, deprivation of career opportunity and breach of contract.

How Ausure Macarthur can help 

While large companies may have substantial employment practices insurance coverage in place small and medium businesses and new businesses are often the most vulnerable to employment claims.

Here at Ausure Macarthur we can discuss with you why it’s important to cover your business in the event of an unfair dismissal claim. Contact Ausure Insurance Brokers Macarthur today.