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Why Policies and Procedures Matter to You

By David Bates, MD, Better HR – Australia’s leading employment relations service for employers

A recent decision handed down by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has provided a timely reminder to us all about the importance of good workplace policies and procedures.

In this particular case, a doctor dismissed by a Victorian hospital for incorrectly charging the hospital for his services and sending a rather offensive letter about his employer around the entire Hospital department was granted his old job back after the employment tribunal found his dismissal had been ‘unfair’.

According to the Commissioner who heard the case, the Hospital did not have the right to fire the doctor because the Hospital’s charging guidelines were too vague and his managers had not properly warned him about his offensive style of communication.

We can safely assume that had the employer ensured that its charging policy was properly drafted and that previous incidences of unacceptable conduct been properly documented, the dismissal would have been approved by the Commission.

To avoid making the same mistakes as this unfortunate employer, make sure you:

  • thoroughly and accurately document all disciplinary conversations with your employees
  • ensure your policies and procedures are comprehensive, up-to-date and properly enforced comply with dismissal laws by following fair and reasonable disciplinary processes
  • check with experts before deciding to dismiss
  • consider engaging experts to dismiss employees on your behalf

Don’t forget that Better HR’s Professional subscribers have access to a library of more than 70 fully-compliant employment policies. It’s just another way we help protect Australia’s employers.

To read more about this particular case please visit the Fair Work Commission site here.

For more information about any of our ER services please call the ER team directly on 1300 781 299


This article is intended to provide commentary and general information. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice may be necessary in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this article. Better HR Pty Ltd ( is not responsible for the results of any actions taken on the basis of information in this article, nor for any error or omission in this article.