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Letting GO

Letting GO

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

  • Never inform employees on a Friday or Monday; midweek is preferable to avoid unsettling staff.
  • Never inform staff prior to a work function.
  • Inform staff before Christmas and not after to ensure staff do not spend money they are unaware they may not have.
  • Prepare a checklist for the removal of security identification, office property and items such as a company car.
  • Set a time and date for the person to leave.
  • Arrange in advance all severance pay and entitlements and ensure they are accurate.
  • Prepare a script and agenda for the discussion.
  • Check union award requirements and ensure you check with your IR legal team.
  • Keep to the scripted announcement details.
  • If possible, ensure outplacement support is on site throughout the process.
  • Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

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