Managing poor performance is an issue that is, unfortunately, commonplace for many HR professionals – and one that has the potential to wreak havoc if handled poorly.
Because of this, it can be tempting to avoid performance management altogether, out of fear that it could lead to a costly unfair dismissal allegation.
According to Julian Riekert, partner at Lander & Rogers, following proper procedures will ensure that performance management and termination are both possible and defensible.
Ninety per cent of dealing with performance issues successfully, Riekert said, is about being thoroughly prepared and having a plan of action which is both clear and simple.
“Employers need to have a clear and workable performance management policy and procedure, and which the employer must ensure it follows,” he said. “A performance management process can fail because employers do not follow their own process.”
However, he advised employers to be aware that following the correct processes does not automatically warrant protection from unfair dismissal claims.
“But we think it is time that employers started contesting these types of claims,” he continued. “When employers have done everything right and they have a strong case, they can certainly defend an unfair dismissal claim in the Fair Work Commission and win.”
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