Thursday, May 30, 2024

Unfair dismissal blamed for one in three disputes with staff

Unfair dismissal is the main reason employees make a formal claim against their employers and, of these claims, nearly a quarter centre around serious misconduct (12 per cent) or misconduct (12 per cent).

Employment relations specialist Employsure released the figures, which were taken from 990 inbound calls from employers between February 2014 and May 2015. They reveal that more than a third of calls were from employers contacting Employsure for the first time, to seek advice on unfair dismissal.

“Disputes between employers and their staff occur when an employee’s conduct is called into question but they feel wrongly accused,” Employsure Managing Director Edward Mallet said. “This is a difficult situation, and usually the employer has no official guidelines on conduct in place. They then call a service like ours to explore their rights and obligations.”

In 2014, employees lodged 17,806 unfair-dismissal claims with the Fair Work Commission, the highest number of annual claims recorded, amounting to 70 claims a day.

“This is a major issue for employers,” Mr Mallett said. “Unfair dismissal was brought about to protect employees from unjust employers; however, the number of claims has blown out. The actual figure is considerably higher, as not all claims are taken to the Commission – some are settled internally by the company concerned.

“Because it’s such a prevalent issue, employers need to ensure they have robust policies in place to be clear and equitable in these matters.”

Mr Mallett says around two-thirds of the companies that contact Employsure in the first instance have employment-compliance issues or are involved in a workplace incident and need expert advice and assistance.

“Around one in five companies in the general business population have workplace issues that result in formal claims being made,” he said. “If you’re a client of Employsure, this drops to one in 150.”

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