senior associate Carl Blake
told HRM that even seasoned employers can be caught out by this one common mistake.
“Fundamentally, the most common firing mistake among New Zealand employers is a lack of following a fair process,” he reveals.
“Regardless of how absolutely clear an employee’s misconduct may be – in the sense of even being videoed stealing money or engaging in absolutely serious misconduct – a process still needs to be followed.”
According to Blake, employees must be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations and the proposal to dismiss them before any decisions are made.
Blake acknowledges that the approach can be somewhat counter intuitive in certain cases but insists employers must follow it regardless, or risk legal action.
“That doesn’t always align with common sense and the most common mistake we see is employers skipping procedural steps, be it a serious misconduct investigation or even something like a redundancy – not going through the proper consultation process,” he explains.
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Most HR professionals will have to fire a multitude of people throughout their career but, according to one leading employment lawyer, practice doesn’t always make perfect.