Employers urged to avoid sky falling sentiment

Written on the 17 June 2009

EMPLOYERS who dismiss staff over recession fears are discovering that knee jerk reactions are hitting them where it hurts - in the back pocket.
Research from Griffith Business School has shown that every time a person quits their job, it costs $9,800 in recruitment and training costs.

According to Gold Coast employment lawyer Brett Wilson, employers should avoid ‘the sky is falling’ panic fuelled by fears of a recession and that dismissing staff should be a last resort option.
He says businesses contemplating staff cuts must consider whether redundancies are based on reality.

“Employers need to realise that if this happens, those laid off might seek redress through the unfair dismissal laws if they feel they have been dismissed for the wrong reasons,” says Wilson.
Wilson blames the volatility in the employment law landscape on dated Howard government Workchoice laws.

“There’s an assumption that employers with fewer than 100 staff can sack people without risk of any comeback. This is not so. Sacked employees are turning to the Anti Discrimination Commission and also seeking common law remedies through the courts for breach of contract,” he says.

Several cases are now underway with more likely to follow. A recent example involved a man made redundant from his job ostensibly because of the economic crisis.
He called at the office a day or two later, only to find a new employee at his desk, doing his job.

“If the employer thought he was being clever, he’s now going to have to deal with an unfair dismissal case,” says Wilson.


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