At HRtoolkit, we frequently hear that it’s almost impossible censure or dismiss bad staff in New Zealand, however employment law gives us good framework to manage a misconduct or dismissal process.
So, how can you, as an employer, be sure you’ve made a fair and reasonable decision?
Here are some key questions to ask during your process; this advice is discussed in more detail in our DIY document library
- Did you investigate the issue?
- Did your employee understand the consequence of their actions?
- When you decided to undertake a formal disciplinary process did you supply the employee with:
- a meeting date and time to prepare
- all the information and potential consequences of their actions
- the opportunity to have representation during the process
- a clear outline of the allegations
- a clear outline of the potential consequences and impact for the employee
- During the meeting:
- Did you give your employee a reasonable opportunity to respond?
- Did you genuinely listen and consider what your employee had to say?
- After the meeting:
- Did you consider the context, our disciplinary due consideration is a great form to use when weighing up the potential outcome of a disciplinary meeting
- Did you communicate your decision clearly?
- If the decision is to terminate an employee, it is always wise to issue a preliminary outcome, giving one more opportunity for feedback for the employee.
After the meeting, decide on a fair and reasonable outcome and advise your employee with written confirmation. Your employee may want to meet with you to discuss your decision. If so, be compassionate and discrete, think about what you would feel if you were in the same situation. If you are clear and confident, your employee will understand that you are making an informed and considered decision.
You will need to prepare yourself for the possibility of an emotional response from your employee, and it’s important that you remain calm and professional during this process.
A fair and reasonable process with compassionate communication will help you and your staff get through tricky situations, so take a deep breath and have a courageous conversation.
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