The small business fair dismissal code came into effect on 1 July 2009 and applies to employers with fewer than 15 employees. As an employer you need to abide by the rules set out in the fair dismissal code to avoid legal action. Here is all the information you need to know about the fair dismissal code.

Small business employees cannot make an unfair dismissal claim in the first 12 months after being hired. This differs from larger companies where an unfair dismissal claim can be made after 6 months of being hired.

An unfair dismissal claim can be made if the employee believes that their dismissal was unfair. It is fair to dismiss an employee without notice or warning if their conduct is serious enough to justify immediate dismissal. Theft, fraud, violence and serious breaches of occupational health and safety are all regarded as serious misconduct.

In other cases, you as the employer must give your employee a reason, preferably written, why he or she is at risk of being dismissed. This must be a valid reason based on the employees conduct or capacity to do the job. The employee must have the opportunity to respond to the warning and rectify the issue, this may mean supplying additional training and making sure the employee knows your job expectations.

If an employee does make a claim to Fair Work Australia, you will be required to provide evidence of compliance with the code, including evidence that proper warning has been given. Evidence can include copies of written warnings, a signed statement of termination or signed witness statements.

To avoid dismissing your employees unfairly and to avoid legal action, always adhere to the fair dismissal code for small businesses. Remember what is considered serious misconduct for immediate dismissal and when warnings need to be issued.

If you would like a copy of the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code, please email us for a copy.

If you want advice regarding the fair dismissal code or if legal action is being taken against you, give our experienced lawyers a call on 1300 784 667 or submit an online enquiry.