Bad employees are a burden for any business, especially small businesses that don’t have a lot of employees, one rotten egg could have a significant effect on the whole business. But the problem is, it turns out that firing a rotten employee is not that easy. A lot of small business owners have gone through a nightmare where they have to face a lawsuit due to unfair dismissal.
Unfair dismissal is a quite puzzling legal matter for many small businesses, even in two very similar cases, the outcomes could be so different. But usually these cases occur because the business hasn’t got everything in order, disorganized, or missing legal steps in the firing process.
In order to avoid this nightmare, business owners should learn from various unfair dismissal cases that have cost a lot of small businesses a lot of money. Here are 5 samples of the most common unfair dismissal cases that could be a good lesson for any small business owner.
Case 1 – Late to work
When an employee is showing up late at work, the employer has every right to be upset, but to fire the employee for that reason? It might lead to an unfair dismissal lawsuit. According to the Fair Work Commission, an employer cannot just fire an employee simply for showing up late, at least not instantly.
The problem lies in “instant dismissal”, even when it already happened several times, showing up late is just not a good enough reason to instantly fire the employee, it has to be an aggregation of behavior.
What you need to do is to clearly put it in your workplace policy that showing up late is a serious violation with serious consequences. You also need to give a warning every time it happens, and after a series of warnings, then you will have a legitimate reason to fire the employee.
Case 2 – Social media comments
Social media is something you can’t get away from these days, but when it comes to business it often leads to problem. Can employees use social media at work? What can be done when an employee posted unethical comments relating to his work on social media? Can you fire him for that?
Firing an employee relating to the way he uses social media can often lead to an unfair dismissal case. In order to avoid this problem, business owners should ideally have a social media policy, outlining what can or cannot be done by employees in social media.
Case 3 – Lies
Sounds simple, but it could often lead to a serious problem. There was once a case when an employee claimed that his employer threatened and forced him to make a resignation letter, while the employer claimed that the employee created the resignation letter at his own will that was accepted verbally. The employer won the case, but this problem could simply be avoided if the employer accepted the resignation in writing.
Case 4 – Fail to come to the hearing
This is just ridiculous, when you have an unfair dismissal claim against you and you don’t show up to the hearing without any acceptable reason, the Fair Work Commission would have no choice but to rely on the evidence provided by the applicant.
Case 5 – Disciplinary decisions
Any disciplinary violation could be a legitimate reason for termination, but without proper documentation, this action could lead to an unfair dismissal claim. In order to avoid it, the employer should document any previous attempt to discipline the employee every time he violates the workplace code.