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What to say When?

An employee has been dismissed for Serious Misconduct. What can I tell the rest of the staff in this situation?

Under the Privacy Act, you cannot share with your other employees the reason why this employee has suddenly left your employment unless the employee has given you permission to do so.

You can however state:

  • That the employee is no longer working for you from whatever the date may be.
  • That the employee has not given you permission to share with them the reasons why they are no longer there.
  • The company will always follow a fair process or procedure whether an employee leaves voluntarily or involuntarily regardless of the situation before they exit the organisation.

An employee is leaving the company due to medical incapacity. What do I tell the rest of the staff in this situation?

Again, under the Privacy Act you cannot discuss someone’s personal details without their consent. Even with their consent it would be advisable to have a script that is approved by the employee so they give approval for what can be shared with their colleagues. Or if they are well enough to attend a farewell morning or afternoon tea, you could offer that one be arranged so they can speak to their colleagues themselves.

An employee is leaving the company after signing a record of settlement. What do I tell the rest of the staff in this situation?

  • Under the terms of a record of settlement you are unable to discuss whatever the employment issue was or what the terms of the settlement are. Records of settlement are confidential to the parties.
  • However, you can share that the employee has left and when it is effective from. You can also state that you have an agreement with the employee not to discuss the reasons for them leaving.
  • You can communicate that the company will always follow a fair process or procedure whether an employee leaves voluntarily or involuntarily regardless of the situation before they exit the organisation.

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