Executive employees can be subject to wrongful termination, redundancy or disputes about their contract of employment and entitlements regardless of their experience or level of seniority. Under the *Fair Work Act 2009 *(Cth), most executive employees are unable to access statutory remedies for unfair dismissal due to earning above the high-income threshold ($153,600 as at 1 July 2020 and adjusted annually). Employees earning over the high-income threshold must instead bring claims in State or Commonwealth Courts.
The terms of the contract of employment will be relied in heavily in executive dismissal cases and will determine a significant part of the outcome. Terms of the contract of employment lay out contractual entitlements including what is owed to an employee, the rights of each party on termination or for a breach of the contract. However, there are a number of rights not in the contract, such as those under discrimination laws, reasonable notice, general protections rights under the Fair Work Act or rights under the Australian Consumer Laws that may also be relevant. The contract and these laws need to be considered together.
Most middle to senior executives will be blocked from commencing applications under the Fair Work Act 2009 because of salary thresholds. This makes it even more critical to pay extra attention to executive employment contracts and how they will affect any termination or dismissal. PH Solicitor can aid in the proper negotiation and settlement on contracts. We can also advise on alternative remedies available.
We provide timely and commercial legal advice to executive employees who have been, or are facing termination. We also provide advice to executive employees throughout workplace investigations, performance management processes and end of employment and exit negotiations. It is important that executives know how much their dismissal is worth, and how to negotiate an exit before dismissal occurs.