The Current Employment Relations Issue of Unfair Dismissal and Pregnancy

Topics: Employment, Labour relations, Organizational studies and human resource management Pages: 10 (3306 words) Published: November 11, 2005
The Current Employment Relations Issue of Unfair Dismissal and Pregnancy

A recent employment relations concern deals with unfair dismissal. When an employee is dismissed for certain statutory reasons, is inequitable and is incompatible to the merits of the situation; this phenomenon is known as unfair dismissal. This has been a long debated issue concerning all participants in the employment relationship. Investigation of the current employment relations issue of unfair dismissal found that emphasis is placed on a case that was recently heard by the Industrial Relations Commission on sexual discrimination because the employee was pregnant. This essay will discuss the nature and significance of the issue. It will also describe the roles of the actors in the employment relationship and the tactics that were employed in order to achieve an outcome.

The once rigid unfair dismissal legislations have of recently undergone re-appraisal by the Australian Government. As such modifications were made in order to free up employer prerogatives with respect to the dismissal of unproductive employees. The following section is a literature review of the topic of unfair dismissal. The Herald Express (2005) argued the scale of protection that the workers have when they take part in a strike. As a result, two legislative laws surface; firstly, an employee is protected against dismissal for twelve weeks or longer if the employer doesn't try to resolve the disagreement. If the employee gets fired within this period it automatically becomes unfair dismissal even if the employees haven't been employed for a full year. However, if the employee breaks the contract and refuses to work and goes into strike without a vote being held, they can be dismissed straight away. In this instance it is not classified as unfair dismissal. Lamount (2005) discusses section 98 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and mentions the potential reasons for unfair dismissal according. These reasons include; capability, conduct, redundancy and statutory restriction. Lamount (2005) goes further to and claims that an employee must have been employed for one year to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. McMullen (1999) agrees and adds that, an employee must have been employed for a year to bring a claim for unfair dismissal, however McMullen (1999) states that an employee is protected by law against dismissal during a strike.

The Accounting Age (2005) claims that any employer or manager who relies on aggressive management leadership style is more likely to be confronted with the issue unfair dismissal, from an ever growing and more powerful workforce. In addition, that with the employee protections laws, this style of management is vanishing rapidly. If an employee resigns because of verbal abuse from a colleague or a superior and the employer didn't investigate the matter properly they can claim unfair dismissal. Even if the employee had to be dismissed straight away for uncivilized misconduct, the case needs to be investigated thorough otherwise the employer could get an unfair dismissal claim.

Switzer (2005) and Orton (2005) converses about the issue of unions' slander against employers and blame them for mistreating mothers that are young and have sick children. A survey showed that one in three small businesses hesitate hiring workers due to unfair dismissal laws. One anonymous magazine employer says that he dismisses when he needs to and don't care about the unfair dismissal laws. He also adds that "if you have a bad worker, you are better of having them out of the place". He therefore bribes the fired employee if they threaten trouble. Switzer suggests the unions should help small businesses to win the war with big businesses, and that common sense and give and take must be happening on matters such as unfair dismissal and Australian Workplace Agreements (AWA). If this were to occur small business owners would not see the unions as their enemy. Goldman and...

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Cunningham, I., James, P. & Dibben, P., (2004), Bridging the Gap between Rhetoric and Reality: Line Managers and the Protection of Job Security for Ill Workers In the Modern Workplace, British Journal of Management, 15, 273-290.
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Harcourt, M., Lam, H. & Harcourt, S. (2005). Unions and Discriminatory Hiring: Evidence from New Zealand, Industrial Relations, 44, 2, 364-372.
Herald Express (2005).Dismissal during an industrial dispute. Herald Express.
Human Rights. (2004). Women, Work and Equity. Retrieved 19 September 2005, from http://www.hreoc.gov.au/sex_discrimination/20thanniversary/women_ work_equity/speeches/goward.html
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McMullen, J. (1999).Ignorance is no defense. Journal of administrative Management, may/june, 18-21.
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