Minimising the fallout

COMMUNICATION and proper management, right from the time an employee is hired, are the keys to avoiding costly unfair dismissal cases, according to legal experts.

By telling an employee what is expected of them from the start of their employment, issues such as poor performance can be easily measured and, if possible, corrected.

Industrial experts say there are two things an employer needs to consider when thinking about dismissing an employee.

Firstly, why is the employee being dismissed? If it is for economic reasons then the business may need to be able to show that, because one of the things unions argue in the case of redundancies is the validity of this proposition.

If it is for conduct or performance then the employee has to be given opportunities to improve.

The employee also has to be given chances to give their side of the story. If there are external factors affecting their performance then these need to be taken into account.

One of the big myths surrounding dismissal is that three written warnings is a satisfactory defence against unfair dismissal claims. This is not the case.

Experts agree that most employers can head off most problems with under-performing workers by discussing the matter with them.

p Next week: The value of counselling.

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