SIDEBAR: Take No Risks
An ounce of prevention can prevent a pound of cure
by Brad Swebeck, Swebeck Legal
The best practical advice for managers faced with the possibility of large-scale redundancies is for them to identify the legal and practical risks by following a simple check list of items that must be considered. The following is a guide only and must be tempered to meet the circumstances of each case.
- When is a final decision being made about the number of retrenchments?
- Should voluntary redundancy be offered before any forced redundancies?
- Which trade union has coverage (or potential coverage) of employees?
- What award or industrial agreement applies?
- What do the contracts of employment or letters of appointment state?
- What legal jurisdiction will the dismissals occur in?
- Are there any laws that set out the scale of payments to be made?
- What is the corporate HR policy on retrenchment?
- What is the corporate history on retrenchment?
- Is there different treatment for award and non-award employees (if so, is it discriminatory)?
- What are the alternatives to retrenchment?
- What services will be offered to employees (counselling, outplacement)?
- Are there restraints of trade in place?
- What are all the financial obligations to the employees?
- Is HR involved?
- Is the media office involved?
- What will be the practical, industrial implications of downsizing (industrial dispute, boycotts, union campaign, employee pickets, productivity loss, injunctive relief, award extension and so on)?
- What are all the legal implications?
- What is the communication plan?
- Is there an industrial relations strategy?
SIDEBAR: Safe Exits
By taking a few basic precautions, CIOs can reduce the risk of IT sabotage
- Prepare well beforehand.
- Seek the cooperation of the staff - change passwords, sometimes within minutes of retrenchment.
- Be aware of potential conflicts of interest and loyalty which may arise when managers are retrenched.
- If possible, have IT support staff in meeting while person is being retrenched - ensure there is immediate loss of access to minimise the opportunity for sabotage.
- Networks and firewalls need to be designed so that someone with internal knowledge cannot access the system.
- Ensure managers are alert to disaffected employees and, if necessary, make them responsible for the employees' actions.
SIDEBAR: Brand Awareness
Rules to follow for effective redundancy and minimal damage to the organisation's brand
by Mark Burnicle, Robert Walters
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