Sisters-in-Law: Legal Advice on Performance Management to Quit Smoking Calmly

Welcome to Sisters In Law,’s weekly column that solves all your legal problems. This week, our resident attorneys and real-life sisters Alison and Jillian Barrett from Maurice Blackburn advise on performance management in a job.


I work for a new technology company that expects its staff to go above and beyond. Before the pandemic, he regularly worked more than 50 hours a week, working weekends and answering emails at night. But the lockdown made me reprioritize my life and I have decided to work to live instead of living to work.

Slowly over the last year I have put more limits on work. I try to work my 37.5 paid hours, I’ve taken my emails off my cell phone and I don’t work weekends anymore, ever. I think the phrase for what I’m doing is called ‘quietly quit’ but I like to call it ‘doing my job at the hours I’m paid for’.

My boss recently called me aside to say that she had realized I was no longer “putting in hours” and that she might have to move to “performance management” if my “attitude doesn’t improve.” She added that “putting more” is part of the “culture” in our workplace.

I don’t have a bad attitude, I just don’t want to half-kill myself to get the job done anymore. What are my rights? I feel like they are trying to manage the performance of me outside of a job. – Harry, New South Wales


For those who don’t know, the new term “quietly quit” is to reject the “hustle” culture or the idea that work has to take over your life and instead just do what is required of you. in his function.

This could include not staying late without pay and not responding to emails or calls outside of normal business hours.

During the Covid lockdown, it may have seemed like there was nothing else to do but work, so people stayed online working longer hours, leading to unpaid overtime and perhaps negative impacts on a person’s mental health.

It sounds like your real concern is that your boss is trying to manage your performance, as you no longer subscribe to that old rushed work culture.

You cannot be fired for doing what is expected of you at your job; You should review your employment contract and job description to ensure that you have not inadvertently failed to meet the requirements of your position.

Your employment may be terminated if you fail to meet the requirements of your role.

In addition to reviewing your employment contract and job description, you should also review your employer’s policies and practices about your role and what is expected of you.

If this is not clear, you should talk to your manager and ask them to explain the expectations of your role and notify you of any expectations you are not meeting; then ask for it in writing.

It sounds like your employer might have unreasonably high expectations. There is a fine line between an employer who shares your concerns about your job performance and harassment.

If you feel the line has been crossed and it happens repeatedly over a period of time that affects your health and safety, it could constitute workplace harassment, which is illegal.

You should also find out if there are any rules, policies or procedures your employer must follow to manage poor performance.

These may be outlined in your award, registered agreement, employment contract, or a workplace policy.

Your boss should not take disciplinary action against you without a valid reason and without following due process.

Disciplinary action could include a written warning of your apparent poor performance, detailing the reasons for the warning, your employer’s expectations, and the consequences of not improving your performance within a reasonable period of time.

Termination of your employment should only be a last resort if you continue to fail to meet reasonable expectations.

If you are eventually fired and you believe it was done unfairly, you should consider filing a wrongful termination lawsuit with the Fair Work Commission.

Strict time limits apply and there are complex legal issues surrounding this area of ​​the law, so you should seek legal advice quickly if you find yourself in this position.

This legal information is general in nature and should not be considered or relied upon as specific legal advice. Persons requiring private legal advice should consult an attorney.

If you have a legal question you’d like Alison and Jillian to answer, please email [email protected]

Learn more from Alison and Jillian on their Facebook page

Read related topics:Employment

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