Managing Discipline and Dismissal processes

Managing Discipline and Dismissal processes
It’s surprising how many organisations fail to deal with poor performing employees. Many managers think it’s too hard and a lot of managers are fearful of making a mistake, then having to deal with an unfair dismissal claim. If you are not familiar with conducting a disciplinary meeting, the prospect of leading one can be daunting.


Girardi HR Services can help demystify the whole poor performance, discipline, and termination process for managers, and reduce the risk of having to deal with an unfair dismissal claim.


Girardi HR Services provides managers with training and coaching in performance management, discipline, and termination processes. For example, we provide a half day training program on dealing with poor performance, conducting a discipline meeting, and conducting a termination process fairly. We also coach managers and attend discipline and termination meetings where we can support managers through the process, or lead the discipline and termination process on behalf of the organisation.


The Fair Work Act outlines the criteria that Commissioners have to consider in determining if a termination has been harsh, unjust, or unreasonable (i.e. this is the criteria that a Commissioner will use in deciding an unfair dismissal case). Fair Work Australia must take into account:

  1. whether there was a valid reason for the dismissal;
  2. whether the person was notified of that reason;
  3. whether the person was given an opportunity to respond;
  4. whether the employer allowed the person to have a support person present; and
  5. if the dismissal related to unsatisfactory performance by the person—whether the person had been warned about that unsatisfactory performance before the dismissal occurred.


We recommend that managers keep these criteria in mind for all discipline processes (not just for the dismissal process), and that they learn how to conduct fair counselling and discipline meetings, that comply with these criteria and with the principles of natural justice.


Girardi HR Services has discipline templates that have stood the test of time, and we have successfully defended unfair dismissal claims in arbitration, based on warnings delivered with these templates. We train managers in how to use these templates.