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Employment

Justin Griffin leads our employment practice, having had 30 years’ experience as a partner in other substantial law firms.  He has a steady hand, but is also ready to take drastic steps on an urgent basis if the situation requires it.

We have the knowledge and experience to act for clients with needs related to:
  • Employment contracts, including variations to existing employment contracts
  • Disciplinary procedures, including documentation
  • Workplace policies
  • Claims of bullying or harassment
  • Claims for unfair dismissal and discrimination 
  • Post-employment restraints
  • Social media, including
    • Unauthorised use of social media during work hours
    • Inappropriate or defamatory use of social media outside work hours
  • Termination of employment
  • Protection of confidential information
  • Workplace health & safety
Dealing with departing employees

If your business is facing a risk with an existing or recently departed employee, we would suggest that you follow the following process to protect your enterprise.

1. Secure your IT position, so that you avoid or minimize the loss of Intellectual Property/Confidential Information

      • Retrieve any work-provided mobile phone
      • Lock the person out of your IT system and/or monitor their activity
      • Check the person’s social media accounts
  1. Contact Patrick & Associates to help you if serious steps like involving the police, summary termination of employment or extension of probation appear to be options
      • In the pressure of the moment, it is easy to make mistakes or over react.  We can assist you to make balanced, well informed decisions
      • The rules of natural justice and concepts of procedural fairness will nearly always need to be applied in these situations.  We can guide you so that any disciplinary or investigative process you instigate can stand up to possible legal challenges on those grounds
      • We can draft relevant documents and give you practical advice to help you plot a path through challenging territory
      • We can then guide you through the next steps of dealing with the employee concerned and your other staff.

3.  Take detailed statements from affected co-workers

      • It is important to gather information quickly, to avoid cross-contamination of accounts
      • Make it clear you are investigating a situation, not conducting a witch hunt
      • Be careful to be neutral in your language; even the worst workers have friends amongst the co-workers who may be feeding information back to the person in question
      • Hold discussions individually, so that dominant personalities don’t swamp quieter ones
      • If you don’t have dedicated HR staff in the workplace, use a trusted external person or firm
      • Never have a person the subject of a complaint conducting investigations/interviews.

4. As appropriate, suspend on full pay apparent ring leaders or agent provocateurs
 

      • Do not appear to victimize anyone
      • Do not appear to pre-judge or make assumptions

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