Employment Law

How to Protect Your Small Business Against an Unfair Dismissal Claim


No small business wants to have their reputation dragged through the mud due to an unfair dismissal claim against them, whether they have employment lawyers on hand or not. However, for example when you have a small SEO company there are always going to be employees that don’t do the work you expect of them, or that fail to give the value you wanted for your business in some other regard. What can you do?

Rather than risk putting your business at risk of a lawsuit for unfair dismissal, it is wise to protect it in the following ways: –

  • Make sure you understand what unfair dismissal is in a legal sense.
  • Have employment contracts that are fair and just, with all the fine details in them needed to protect your business.

  • Have carefully detailed procedures and processes in place for your human resources. Many employers seem to focus entirely on other components of their business to the detriment of the human side. Remember, you can’t run your business without staff.
  • Prevent and manage problems by open communications at all times. Not all employees understand fully what is expected of them. You should have fully detailed role descriptions and make sure your employees read them.
  • Encourage an open door policy to get feedback from your staff and make sure they know there will be no retribution from anyone if they bring their complaints to you.
  • Always be fair, honest and upfront with your staff.
  • If an employee is not doing what you want or meeting performance levels, find out why and document, sign and date everything. If they need more training, make sure they get it. Set a reasonable time limit for their improvement with them and make sure they sign all the documents and know the consequences of not meeting expectations.
  • Know the rights of your employees, but also know your own rights.
  • Make sure your business is compliant in every way.
  • Try to avoid complaints by being fair, honest and just. If an issue arises, deal with it immediately, before it gets out of hand.
  • Respect your workers and don’t just label some as chronic whiners. Find out what the problem is by talking to them and suggesting a solution. Or ask them what they would want to see happen. Making them responsible for the improvement is sometimes all it takes to resolve an issue.
  • If you’ve done the best you can and still face an unfair dismissal claim, try and resolve it at the conciliation conference rather than letting it drag out in court. Court costs and time are very consuming. If it goes to court, make sure you have a good lawyer.