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Last updated May 2024

This chapter explains how to lawfully dismiss an employee, the legal risks of dismissal and alternatives you may consider to dismissing an employee.

When might you dismiss an employee?

Every employer will need to dismiss an employee at some point.

Definition: Dismissal

Dismissal occurs when an employer terminates the employment of an employee.

You may need to dismiss an employee for several reasons, including:

  • the employee has engaged in misconduct, such as:
    • engaging in bullying, harassment or discrimination;
    • making abusive comments to work colleagues;
    • consistently attending the workplace late; or
    • breaching a workplace policy;
  • the employee has been underperforming and efforts to improve performance have failed; and
  • the employee’s role has become redundant and you are unable to redeploy them to another role.

In these cases, you will enact an express dismissal.

Caution: Dismissal can also be effected by an employer’s repudiation of the employment contract.