A smelly situation
Thursday, November 8, 2012/
Imagine you had employees coming to your office alleging a culture of bullying and misbehaviour had developed in your business.
The behaviour these employees allege is very serious. They say their tyres have been slashed, colleagues had urinated in their work boots, there is a culture of widespread drug use and serious OH&S incidents have been concealed at work. Clearly, any responsible entrepreneur would want to rein in this bad behaviour.
Now imagine, having learnt about this workplace culture, you also came to learn that one of your employees had allegedly farted in a co-worker’s face. Could you legally, automatically, dismiss them on the spot?
Let’s make this question a little easier. You don’t believe this flatulence was a case of the employee accidentally over-indulging in baked beans because, at a Christmas party a couple of years ago, this same employee was allegedly involved in a head-butting incident. You believe this has established a pattern of “unacceptable misconduct”.
Now if you called them in to your office and gave them the “wish you well in your future endeavours” speech, and they subsequently appealed through Fair Work Australia, would you win?
If your answer is “yes” and you’re an employer, you’re funny. The shocking twist in this tale is that this employer was forced to pay the employee compensation.
Yes, you read that correctly. Fair Work Australia ordered the employer to pay the dismissed employee compensation in this situation. The reason was because the employer didn’t follow proper procedure during the dismissal.
Sure, the tale stinks – in more ways than one. But if you don’t know the procedures you need to follow under Australian employment law – especially when it comes to dismissals – it’s time to get in touch with a HR expert to find out.
It’s time to learn your obligations – before you find yourself in a smelly situation.
Get it done – today!