In this country it is becoming more difficult to fire somebody from their job. There are strict employment laws which prohibit sacking somebody without going through certain procedures. And even after undergoing such procedures, they can still take you to court for Wrongful Dismissal and chances are they will win (statistically, about 90% of Wrongful Dismissal cases in this country end up with the employee winning, or an out-of-court settlement in favour of the employee).

Here is the procedure if you want to dismiss somebody in this country. This may also be of use if your own laws aren’t as strict as ours, but you would like to be a bit more fair on your employees.

When somebody is causing issues, and have been pulled up on a number of occasions to no avail, you are to pull them to one side (or arrange a meeting with them) and discuss the issue with them. Before starting the discussion you are to verbally state to them that this is a “Verbal Warning” and that you will document the discussion for their records. Discuss with them the issue, and get them to tell you how they intend to remedy or rectify the situation. After the meeting, thoroughly document what was said, including their intended remedial actions, and get all attendees to sign 2 copies of the document. You keep one, and the employee keeps the other.

Verbal warnings can continue as often as you like, but the norm is one or two times only. After that you put in writing your concerns, and list the changes that they are to undertake and dates by which they are to achieve these. This is a “Written Warning”. This must be realistic in both the tasks and timeframes, and noted that they will be monitored closely. Every effort is to be made in helping this person to improve, and in no way can you be seen to hinder their progress.

If they fail on their set improvement tasks, then you have grounds for dismissal. This takes the form of another letter to them giving them notice of their dismissal. If this is immediate, then severance pay is required, up to the pay period in advance (e.g. if they are paid monthly, then one month’s pay is to be given). If you are giving notice, then this notice is usually of the same period of time as their pay schedule, but no less than 2 weeks.

If in doubt, check any contract you may have with them, or contact your local Employment Relations Board or other such facility for further details. Employees can take you to the cleaners if you don’t get it right.

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