15 August When dispensing discipline goes wrong August 15, 2019 By Reef Admin General 0 From time to time, as an employer you’ll be faced with the situation where an employee does something wrong. It may be a minor case of wrongdoing or perhaps a more serious instance of misconduct. What disciplinary action can you take? The most common type of disciplinary action is to issue the employee with a warning – either verbally or in writing – to alert them to the actions or behaviours the employer considers to be inappropriate. But, at REEF, we often hear from employers who have come up with other, more novel ideas when it comes to disciplinary action. When it comes to disciplinary action against an employee, care should always be exercised to ensure your actions are within the limits of the law. Imposing fines Employers often consider issuing a fine or monetary penalty against an employee as a result of their actions or behaviours. While it might seem like a good idea, it’s important to remember that, as a general rule, as an employer you have no right to issue a fine against an employee in the course of employment. To do so, you need to seek an order from a relevant court – so be careful with those ‘in-house’ fines issued to employees for arriving late to staff meetings! Deducting monetary shortfalls Where an employee has financial management responsibilities and there’s a shortfall in the money being managed, an employer can’t simply deduct the shortfall from the employee’s pay. Likewise, a deduction can’t be made from an employee’s pay where a trust account shortfall is identified. To do so, you need to prove the case against the employee in court and seek an order for the recovery of the money. Where financial management handling problems are identified, you might be able to implement other disciplinary measures such as removing the responsibility from the employee or, in more serious circumstances, terminating their employment. Suspending from work Employers don’t have an automatic right to suspend an employee, either with or without pay. However, suspension (usually with pay) is a device that can be used to allow for a proper investigation of a complaint against an employee while they’re not in the workplace. Suspension may be used if you consider that damage to the business, loss of evidence or objections from customers may occur if the employee continues to work in the position while under investigation. Withholding wages Employers aren’t entitled to withhold an employee’s wage where the wage payment relates to work already performed. Related When an agency changes hands Does the transferring employee's service with the old employer count as service with the new employer? Notice periods: When it all comes to an end How much notice needs to be given when bringing an employment relationship to an end? Here we answer some common questions about minimum notice periods for termination. Advocacy: REEF has your back when it comes to claims If you ever find yourself confronted with a workplace-based claim, REEF is on hand to help and will work with you every step of the way – and our advocacy service has been in high demand in recent times. Parental leave: What to consider when replacing someone It’s an issue all too well known to real estate employers. You have a pregnant employee who is about to head off on unpaid parental leave. Your anxiety levels start to rise. How are you going to maintain your agency’s level of service while they’re gone? When is a casual not a casual? The employment of casual employees has become a lot more precarious following a recent court decision by the Federal Court of Australia. When does a salesperson start to add value to my agency? Success in any business requires a sound appreciation of the cost pressures that have an impact on the bottom line. In agency practice, one of the major pressures relates to the employment of staff. Comments are closed.