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Ending an Employment Contract?

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Ending Employment

Employment Law

Do you have questions as an employer about ending employment contacts? Here is a good starting place.


Specific Issues

On-Demand Resources

View on-demand information about specific issues related to ending employment contracts in Australia.


Need advice about ending employment? Call Anderson Legal for a fixed-price initial consultation.



This firm safeguards what matters most and acts purposefully in times of crisis. It acts for employers, executives, and employees.

Having successfully represented litigants in the High Court of Australia, Royal Commissions, Fair Work Commission and multiple other courts and tribunals, Andrew Anderson has a demonstrated record of success in complex and difficult cases.

As a boutique law firm, Anderson Legal is dedicated to providing expert advice and representation in dealing with workplace issues. Although based in Brisbane, this firm advises clients nationally.

Andrew Anderson, Legal Director, is an experienced lawyer who has been independently described by the Courier Mail as “one of the best legal minds” and a “leading corporate and white-collar crime lawyer” (16 December 2021)

Andrew Anderson - Lawyer

Ending Employment Contracts

If you have searched “ending employment” or for an “employment lawyer“, you will see there are many options available. Why get advice from Anderson Legal?

If you seek an experienced lawyer to help you when dealing with ending employment, Andrew Anderson has a proven track record of successfully guiding his clients through challenging, complex and serious problems.

The areas of law Anderson Legal handles are narrow yet deep. It ensures this firm can handle all cases to the highest standards, no matter the complexity.

Personalised Solutions

Anderson Legal takes the time to understand the circumstances and priorities of each of its clients and tailors solutions accordingly.

Many business operators and managers attach their identities to their work, and ending employment contracts can cause significant business problems.

Resolving workplace issues is not always straightforward, as other issues often affect decisions – reputational risks, financial realities, and opportunity costs.

This firm offers tailored strategies to resolve workplace concerns.

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How employment may be terminated

Termination of employment refers to the employment of an employee ceasing with the employer. Employment may be terminated in a number of ways, including:

  • Abandonment of employment
  • Dismissal – paid notice
  • Dismissal – summary dismissal
  • Dismissal – within probation
  • Mutual separation by agreement
  • Redundancy
  • Resignation by employees

How an employee’s employment is terminated may give rise to different processes or obligations on the part of the employer. For that reason, it is important for employers to understand the basis for the end of the employee’s employment, and ensure it is properly communicated and recorded.

Managing risks when ending employment

Employers ought to take steps to manage legal risks when ending the employment contract of an employee. Even if an employee resigns, it sometimes happens that they will then file a claim relating to a ‘forced resignation’.

The steps an employer can take to follow the law and minimise the risk of successful claims will depend on the way a contract is being ended. For example, termination of employment by redundancy requires certain steps to occur.

There are legal risks beyond a former employee bringing a claim against an employer. Concerns may arise for a number of reasons, such as:

  • access to computer systems
  • return of property
  • communication with colleagues
  • communication with clients

There are practical steps employers can take to minimise certain risks. An example is an employer placing an employee on ‘gardening leave’ during their notice period. Other steps are possible, such as ensuring contracts or policies address these issues in advance.

Contested termination claims

Employees who are dissatisfied with their employment termination may seek to challenge it in a number of ways. This includes:

  • Internal appeals against dismissal, as may be provided for in a modern award, enterprise agreement, employment contract, or the policies and procedures of a workplace;
  • Unfair dismissal claim in the Fair Work Commission;
  • General protections claim in the Fair Work Commission;
  • Unlawful termination claim in the Fair Work Commission;
  • Discrimination claims in an anti-discrimination commission or tribunal, such as the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) or Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC); or,
  • Breach of contract claim in a court.

Contested termination claims can create legal, financial and reputational risks to businesses and organisations. It is the reason why business operators, executives and managers tasked with end-of-employment issues must be mindful of the risks involved when employment relationships end.

Post-employment issues

Employees can owe obligations to an employer even after their employment has come to an end.

The way post-employment obligations arise is generally through employment contracts or mutual separation agreements. Common post-employment obligations involve:

  • restraint of trade
  • non-disparagement
  • confidential information
  • intellectual property

For an employer to enforce post-employment obligations, the terms of the clauses ought to be surviving scrutiny by a court. Restraints or clauses in agreements may be struck out for a variety of reasons, including if they are vague or oppressive. For a business or organisation to protect their interests, it is crucial for consideration to be given both to the drafting and enforcement of the clauses. It is often important for employers to act quickly to resolve potential breaches of post-employment obligations by former employees.

Employee records

There are a number of laws that require employers to keep employee records for specified periods, even past the end of an employee’s contract. This includes records in compliance with the following laws:

  • Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 (Cth)
  • Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
  • Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth)
  • Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 (Cth)
  • Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth)
  • Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 (Cth)
  • Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 (Cth)

Each law may require specific records relating to employees to be kept. Additionally, work health and safety laws also make it mandatory for employers to keep certain records for certain periods.

The failure to maintain employee records as required can have civil or criminal consequences, depending on the nature of the breach. Breaching the law is a matter some professional and trade bodies can take into account in granting licences to practice and operate.

Specific Issues: Ending Employment

Abandonment of Employment

Abandonment of Employment

Abandonment of employment may occur when an employee fails to attend work for an unreasonable length of time without consulting or providing a reasonable excuse to their employer.
Employers concerned about apparent abandonment of employment by an employee ought to take steps to ensure the issue is properly resolved.
Dismissal - Paid Notice

Dismissal – Paid Notice

There is often a notice period for employment termination, which must be paid by an employer to an employee as part of their entitlements.
Notice periods can be set by the National Employment Standards, modern awards, enterprise agreements, or employment contracts. In some cases, an employee will be provided with a payment in lieu of the notice period.
Dismissal - Summary Dismissal

Dismissal – Summary Dismissal

One of the reasons an employer may be reluctant to summarily dismiss an employee is the prospect of an employee challenging the decision.
Dismissal - Within Probation

Dismissal – Within Probation

A probation period allows employers to see if an employee is suitable for their role and for the employee to see the work environment. Employees can be dismissed on probation, provided there is a valid reason.
If an employment contract is terminated during a probation period, it is common for a lesser notice period to apply than is otherwise the case.
End of Contract Negotiations

End of Contract Negotiations

The termination of a contract by mutual separation or end of contract negotiations can be beneficial to both employers and employees.
It is important for both employers and employees to be mindful of the potential complications of raising a negotiated separation, which is why all end of contract negotiations require a tailored strategy.
Redundancy

Redundancy Processes

Redundancy decisions are frequently the source of disputes between employers and employees. Failure to follow the law for a redundancy process can give rise to successful claims against employers.
It is important for employers to put proper redundancy processes in place to ensure legal, commercial and reputational risks are managed.
Free Consultation

Anderson Legal offers a fixed-priced initial consultation to businesses, executives, and employees concerning ending employment.

Who this firm assists

Anderson Legal has a focus on resolving workplace problems. It provides advice and legal services to:

  • small business operators
  • executives in medium to large enterprises
  • employees in medium to large enterprises
  • public service employees

The potential impact of ending employment contracts on reputations, relationships, and livelihoods makes it critical to have an employment lawyer who is equal to the task. If you need an employment lawyer, there are many reasons why Anderson Legal should be your preferred choice:

  • Andrew Anderson, Legal Director, is an experienced lawyer who has been independently described by the Courier Mail as “one of the best legal minds” and a “leading corporate and white-collar crime lawyer” (16 December 2021).
  • Having successfully represented litigants in the High Court of Australia, Royal Commissions, Fair Work Commission, and multiple other courts and tribunals, Andrew Anderson has a demonstrated record of success in complex and difficult cases.
  • Prior to operating a law firm, Andrew Anderson worked as a Principal Crown Prosecutor in Queensland and barrister in practice at 8 Petrie Terrace Chambers. His depth of courtroom experience ranges from straightforward claims right through to complex trials and appeals.
  • Anderson Legal is a law firm that is dedicated to the best ideals of the legal profession. Seeking to exceed client expectations and working for just outcomes is an everyday pursuit.

Read below how this firm can assist you, what it costs to get advice, and when to contact this firm.

How this firm can assist

With respect to ending employment contracts, this firm assists businesses and organisations to navigate all kinds of issues, including:

  • advising on the appropriate steps for ending an employment contract
  • assisting with end of contract negotiations between employers and employees
  • developing contracts and policies that protect legitimate employer interests
  • outlining the potential risks faced by employers when ending employment, such as:
    • unfair dismissal claims
    • general protections claims
    • unlawful termination claims
    • discrimination claims
    • breach of contract claims
    • reporting obligations to regulators
  • representing businesses and organisations litigating disputed termination claims in courts and tribunals

Note: Anderson Legal does not provide advice or representation for compensation claims under personal injury or workers’ compensation laws.

What it costs to get advice

Fixed price initial consultation

Fixed-Price Consultation
One-Hour Consultation
Confidential
No-Obligation Consultation

A fixed-price initial consultation is $495 incl. GST for up to one hour, which may be tax deductible (consult your tax advisor).

If you are dealing with questions about ending employment, book an appointment for an initial consultation with Anderson Legal. It is designed to deliver clear and timely advice that allows you to understand the relevant legal issues and make informed choices about the action that may be taken.

The time is devoted to ensuring an understanding of the particular issues to allow advice to be given based on the information you provide, which may include:

  • The legal framework for ending employment:
    • Employer rights and responsibilities
    • Employee rights and responsibilities
    • Appropriate steps for the specific situation
    • Relevant contract and policy issues
  • Outline of possible risks in ending employment
  • The manner in which termination may occur:
    • Abandonment of employment
    • Dismissal – paid notice
    • Dismissal – summary dismissal
    • Dismissal – within probation
    • Mutual separation by agreement
    • Redundancy
    • Resignation by employees
  • Specific issues with ending employment
    • Workplace investigations
    • Contested termination claims
    • Post-employment obligations
    • Employee records

An initial consultation with Anderson Legal is obligation-free, meaning there is no expectation or commitment to further legal work or costs. If you want to engage this firm to provide you with further advice or legal representation, estimates of costs will be provided as far as possible.

Initial consultations are by appointment only, with in-person, video, and phone options possible.

Representation for contested termination claims

Anderson Legal is transparent about how it charges legal fees.

This firm generally charges on a capped-fee, fixed-fee, or time-costed basis. How you are charged is something that may be negotiated and your preferences are taken into consideration.

Please note that Anderson Legal does not undertake legal work on a ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis.

In representing businesses, executives, and employees with respect to contested termination claims, Anderson Legal puts in place a formal costs agreement with all clients. This includes a disclosure statement outlining important rights, as well as quotes or estimates for applicable legal fees.

When to contact this firm

Employment law issues can have strict timeframes, so it is prudent to seek legal advice as soon as possible for employment law concerns.

Ending the employment of employees in workplaces can involve many legal complexities, which can have profound consequences for reputations, relationships, and livelihoods. It is the reason why it can be critical for business operators, executives and, managers to get urgent legal advice when dealing with such issues.

If you want legal advice, you should call Anderson Legal to set up an appointment for a fixed-price initial consultation: