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Mythbusting Monday: Three strikes and you're out!

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

It's #MythbustingMonday so we're clearing up this employment myth about needing three warnings before any dismissal can occur.


Does an employer need to give an employee three warnings before dismissal?

No! It is a common misconception that employee's must get a verbal, written and then a final written warning before they can be fired. Depending on the situation and the seriousness of the misconduct, it may not be appropriate to go through all of these steps.


Do they have to give any warnings at all then?

No! In cases of serious misconduct, the employee's actions may be so severe that the essential trust in an employment relationship might be completely destroyed. In this case, there may be no other alternative but to dismiss the employee, even if this is a first offence so the employer does not have to have previously given any warnings.


What if they have a final warning, can an employer fire them if there is another offence?

Not necessarily! Warnings are specific to the misconduct that has occurred so can generally only be relied upon when offences are similar. For instance, if an employee received a final warning for bullying co-workers, an employer may not be able to rely on this to dismiss if they also sign out 15 minutes early on a shift.


And remember...

Before even getting to the stage of issuing a warning or dismissing an employee, an employer must be confident that good process has been followed. An employer must act reasonably in disciplinary proceedings and not have predetermined outcomes, because this is where employers end up with grievances.



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