When it’s not always black and white – the Art of Workplace Investigations

If you receive a complaint related to the workplace, how you successfully investigate the claims can be the difference to resolving them internally or the basis for how you defend the position you took before a court or tribunal. To make it even more challenging, many complaints are also not black and white. For example, it is about behaviours that are *felt* and not seen, there are no witnesses or no concrete proof exists that the events ever took place. …

Managing Employee Performance

If you employ people, chances are that you’ve had to consider a difficult conversation with one of them around their performance. Chances are, this has also generally been a behavioural issue so it’s been challenging to try and describe what you’ve been unhappy with in concrete terms… and this has caused you to worry about getting the conversation wrong. Sound familiar to you or a business you know? If it does, you’re certainly not alone . We believe there are …

Redundancy 101

Business owners of all shapes and sizes will know that operating a business comes with a few risks. One of those risks can include what to do when a business is faced with some hard choices around its operations and the potential need for making people redundant….made harder when it’s having to be done at a time of year that might see a holiday about to happen. To help you address this issue, we’ve brought together some simple steps to …

First aid for performance

Apply First-Aid to your performance issues in 3 easy steps

Chances are that regular readers and clients will have heard me quip at least once that ‘if I could earn a dollar just for kick starting a discussion about performance with employees I’d be a very wealthy man‘! This is perhaps a slight exaggeration but it has its basis in the fact that I’m regularly involved in discussions about an employee ‘just not performing’ or ‘not being part of the team’. For the record, if you own or manage a …

Office christmas party and legal issues

Employers and the office Christmas Party

I recall going to my very first company Christmas party in my younger days and watching in fascination as the normally quiet office receptionist (having had a few too many cocktails) complained loudly about the lack of a bonus that year. In hindsight, that was the easiest part of the night to deal with as her later heckling of the ‘boss’ (and then the ‘big boss’) during their ‘thanks-for-the-year-that-was’ speech made everyone so uncomfortable that the party basically ended by …

Casual unfair dismissal

Unfair dismissal…and casuals?

Hands up if you know that casual staff can’t claim for unfair dismissal? If that’s you – think again. In the 2018 decision Gwatkin v Sai Group of Businesses t/as Premier Hotel Pinjarra*, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) held that a casual employee was entitled to an unfair dismissal remedy on the basis they met the minimum employment period, that their work pattern was ‘regular and systematic’ and they had an ongoing expectation of work. [cue sound of record needle …

Small Business Fair Dismissal Code

Small businesses have different rules for dismissal which are set out in the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code (the Code). A small business is any business with fewer than 15 employees calculated on a simple headcount of all employees who are employed on a regular and systematic basis. This includes any casuals employed on a regular and systematic basis. The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code provides protection for small business employers against unfair dismissal claims, where an employer follows the …

Help! My employee is in custody!

It is not uncommon to find that an employee’s personal life sometimes comes crashing into their work place. Perhaps it’s just the Saturday morning netball injury meaning they’re off work for a week  or a more serious illicit drug or alcohol problem where the employee is absent for days at a time (or every second Monday for some reason). But what about when things turn serious and suddenly you find an employee is in custody? Surely these types of examples …