Employment contracts: friend or foe?

How solid are your employment contracts? The importance of having employment contracts in place is generally understood. However, time constraints, multiple priorities or a lack of support or knowledge in this legislative space can sometimes lead to incomplete, inaccurate, non-compliant or insufficient contracts that can expose a business to multiple disputes or claims.

Our team member, Lynn Ross, was involved in a dispute resolution process at the Fair Work Commission, defending the employer/business against a breach of contract claim made by an employee.

The case

An editable version of an employment contract was emailed to a potential employee. The employee changed the wording on the contract to avoid repaying relocation costs back to the business if he resigned within a particular period of time. The contract was then signed by the employee and emailed back to the employer without any discussion or comment of the changes made by the employee prior to signing the contract.

The employee resigned shortly after and refused to repay the relocation costs siting the wording on the contract. When the business deducted the amount owing from the employee’s final pay, the employee lodged a claim with the Fair Work Commission for breach of contract.

Lynn represented the employer at the Fair Work Commission proving all necessary evidence of the incident and the employee’s breach of the company code of conduct and values. The case was quickly settled in favour of the business.

What can you do to protect your business?

Understanding and executing legislative obligations is critical to the operations of any business, especially when it comes to having the right employment processes, policies and contracts in place.

There are a number of tools and templates available to help you make sure you’re using compliant documentation (we have an HR fundamentals toolkit for example, that includes five hours of phone advice with an HR manager to help you solve situations that aren’t as straight forward).

Businessary can help you take a proactive approach in managing your business and employees – give us a call and lighten your load.