Cairns Employment and Workplace Lawyers | Employment and Workplace Lawyers

When is Dismissal Fair? Lawyers in Cairns Find 4 Main Reasons

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For Cairns business owners and managers, the area of dismissal in the workplace can be tricky. It is often an emotive subject and needs to be handled appropriately using excellent people management practice. If the situation isn't handled well at the time, there will most certainly be unpleasant legal repercussions later on. This is where experienced lawyers can help clients understand their rights according to the law.

1. Conduct

  • Conduct issues of a minor nature (eg. Poor timekeeping) can often be dealt with informally. A conversation with the employee will hopefully amend the behaviour
  • Official warnings should follow if the conduct issue is not rectified
  • If the misconduct continues despite the official warnings, it may be grounds for dismissal
  • If a conduct issue is of a very serious nature, it is then considered 'Gross Misconduct', e.g., Theft.
  • In gross misconduct cases, the employee can usually be dismissed without any notice (summary dismissal). This is the only time when notice isn't required for dismissal.

2. Capacity

Capacity is relevant when an illness or health-related issue affects an employee's capability to carry out their role to the expected standard. It is essential that an employer follows these guidelines prior to dismissal:

  • Consider adjustments that can be made to support the employees within reasonable limits
  • Monitor the employee's recovery and give reasonable time for this process
  • Gather thorough information regarding the employee's situation or condition, as well as likely outcome, using medical reports or similar professional documentation
  • Consider alternative options within the company, e.g., part-time or flexible working hours, more suitable roles in the organisation

Cairns Employment & Workplace Lawyers can guide clients through the legal process and their rights according to the law

3. Performance

Performance is deemed to be poor if an employee isn't capable of carrying out their given role in a satisfactory manner. Before dismissal is considered, the employer has a responsibility to carry out all steps involved in a performance management process. This will include each stage of the disciplinary process and should allow the employee in question an opportunity to improve performance while being supported and assisted by the company.

Each stage of the Performance Management procedure must be worked through before dismissal is an option. As an employer, it is important to know your legal rights and dependable advice from specialised lawyers can be invaluable at this time.

4. Redundancy

Redundancy can occur when an employer needs fewer employees, or in fact none at all.

Examples of redundancy could be:

  • when companies close down and cease trading
  • when the workload has decreased, and there are too many employees
  • when the business relocates and has less space for employees
  • when a role is not required anymore
  • when there is a company reorganisation, meaning that the new functions need different skill sets

Only after the correct process has been completed, can dismissal due to a redundancy occur. This can take a few weeks as the company follows through all stages of the proper policy.

It is important to always remember that it is not a person that is made redundant but the job.

When you're handling difficult employee issues, the last thing that you want to think about is legal costs. Cairns Employment & Workplace lawyers are part of Preston Law, a Cairns-based law firm. Our lawyers will offer clients an initial consultation at no charge. There may even be a fixed fee option, depending on the service and requirements.

For trustworthy, local legal advice on your employment and workplace matters  contact our lawyers for a free initial consultation today. 



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