In Australia, employees have many rights and protections in the workplace under the Fair Work Act and other relevant legislation. This legislation ensures that employees are treated fairly and protects them from discrimination or exploitation. When employees feel that their rights have been violated, they are entitled to lodge claims of unfair dismissal, general protections, or other legal action. However, some employees will always try to create trouble and push legal claims or actions, even if the employer has done everything by the book.
Revenge seeking employees
Over the years, we have assisted some clients who have had particularly difficult employees who have either been dismissed or disciplined. This has started them on a long, tedious, and often costly path of disputes and legal issues for our clients. For the employee, there isn’t much of a barrier to entry in pursuing action through the Fair Work Commission by lodging unfair dismissal or general protections claims, which are the most common.
What is the problem for employers?
In many cases, the type of employee that will seek some sort of revenge for being dismissed or disciplined will pursue it regardless of the realistic chances they have of getting anything out of it. These types of employees present two problems for employers. Firstly, if the employer hasn’t been 100% compliant, they are at risk of having to pay out money to the employee. However, even if the employer has done everything compliantly, the employee can soak up valuable time and resources and create additional stress by pushing all avenues of action by the FWC or any legal options.
How can employers avoid any issues?
The problem employers can face when dealing with these types of employees is they can easily get ‘baited’ or lured into acting in ways they wouldn’t usually out of frustration. This can lead to the employer breaching employment law. Here are some ways an employer can avoid these types of issues.
Ensuring employers don’t react to anything done by the trouble employee is crucial, as we have often seen it come back to bite employers. Treating the trouble employee the same as all the others just as important as it restricts any ‘ammunition’ the employee may have to support any future claims they make. For employers, it is also important to stay calm when talking to the employee and refrain from using language that makes it sound like there is an issue with the employee. Employers should avoid commenting on things like their ‘attitude’ or other things that could be interpreted as a personal attack or some level of discrimination or dislike.
Manage your expectations
Ensuring all employees are clear on how they are expected to behave in the workplace and perform in their role is very important. This will prevent the employees from being shocked when their poor behaviour or performance is pulled up by the employer.
Probably the most important point is employment compliance. Failing to be compliant with employment law will expose businesses to a large amount of risk, especially in the situation of a trouble employee. In the case where an employee is claiming unfair dismissal or general protections, having confidence in measures in place to uphold employment compliance will mean employers won’t feel pressured into paying out an employee.
How can ER Strategies assist you?
Revenge seeking employees can create havoc in your business, especially if they aren’t managed correctly. You can also end up spending an unnecessary amount of time and money dealing with it. ER Strategies has helped plenty of clients deal with these type of problem employees, and we would love to help you too. Give us a call on 1300 55 66 37 or click the button below.