Can I fire an employee for taking personal calls at work?
Yes, you can, provided you follow a procedurally fair process!
An unfair dismissal claim was recently made by an employee who was terminated for sending 1260 text messages during working hours in the space of 29 days. The employee also spent the majority of her work hours answering personal phone calls related to her private business interests instead of performing the work she was employed to perform.
In Lynda Murphy v Clear Day Pty Ltd  FWC 373, when her employer had had enough, it terminated her employment. One week prior, a warning was issued by the employer. In assessing whether the termination of employment was harsh, unjust and unreasonable, the Fair Work Commission, although it found the dismissal was not unjust given the seriousness of the matter, called out matters of procedural fairness that had not been adhered to by the employer. These included the employer failing to provide a written warning and failing to provide the employee with an opportunity to respond to the reasons for her dismissal.
Although the procedural fairness issues were overlooked by the Fair Work Commission this time, this is most certainly not always the case.
No doubt, you can identify with this situation or a similar one in your workplace that requires acting on, but:
- Do you know the steps to follow for procedural fairness?
- Do you know how to write a letter of warning that puts your employee on notice that enough is enough and continuation of poor behaviour and conduct will jeopardise their employment?
If you would like further assistance, contact Business 360:
- for a copy of our “How to Write a Written Waring to an Employee” Guide, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- for a confidential phone discussion with one of our Team, click or scan below to book a time to discuss your needs, or
- Call us on 1300 287 360 or email email@example.com