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Beware HR Managers and Companies

Terminating employees comes with high risks

The Federal Circuit Court has fined an HR Manager personally more than $1,000 for providing insufficient notice when dismissing an injured employee.

In Cerin v ACI Operations & Ors (14 October 2015), the HR manager admitted in evidence that she was aware of the relevant Legislation and was also aware that the Act had provisions dealing with minimum employment requirements, including notice. The HR manager had the authority to determine how much notice a person was given. Accordingly she was fined as an individual.

The company was also required to pay penalties $20,400 for breaches of the Fair Work Act.

It is recommended that you seek advice before terminating employees. There are many aspects to terminating an employee, including making sure the proper processes are followed, the correct notice is given, and the appropriate entitlements paid. In the case above, the amount the employee missed out on was only $188.66, but the risk to the HR Manager and the Employer was much higher.

HR Managers can be fined personally for getting it wrong, even though they are not the owners of the businesses, and companies will not be excused if they rely on their internal HR Managers, if the manager makes a mistake.

For further information or advice on your employment matters contact our Workplace & Employment Law Team at Watkins Tapsell.