We often hear the word procedural fairness being floated about but what does it mean and how is it relevant in your business. This blog will discuss the concept of procedural fairness and how it is important to your business.


What is procedural fairness?​

Procedural fairness is the concept that decision making follows a fair and impartial process. The decision maker needs to ensure that they have reached a decision by considering both parties points of view and all evidence presented to them. The decision maker needs to remove all personal biases and ensure their decision is based on facts and evidence not emotions and feelings.  The decision maker needs to ensure that they have adhered to or followed appropriate steps not just made the decision.


Key principles of procedural fairness in making decisions in the workplace ​

  • Employee is given sufficient details regarding the issue or allegation;
  • The employee is allowed to respond appropriately to the allegations or issues;
  • The employee was given an opportunity to have a support person present or seek external advice;
  • Decision maker has followed company procedures in making the decision;
  • The decision maker considers the employees’ response before finalising their decision.


Why is procedural fairness important in the workplace?

Procedural Fairness makes better decisions

Having decisions based on facts and evidence as opposed to emotions and feelings all but guarantees that the decision maker is making the best possible decision for the business and for all parties involved.


Fosters a positive workplace culture

Employees will trust management decisions and be supportive of workplace changes if there is a culture of procedural fairness and avoids any perceptions of bias or unfair decision-making.


It is a key element in deciding if termination is lawful

When an employer is defending an unfair dismissal claim, the employer will need to demonstrate that procedural fairness was adhered to so much so it could mean the difference between the employee winning or losing their claim.


How can you adhere to procedural fairness when terminating an employee?

  • Provide in writing appropriate detail regarding the allegation/s;
  • Give the employee an opportunity to bring along a support person to the meeting;
  • Ensure that the employee understands the allegation/s and the consequences;
  • Allow the employee ample opportunity to respond and present any additional evidence or extenuating circumstances;
  • Consider all evidence and responses that the employee gives to you and take it into account when making your decision;
  • Remove any predetermined ideas and notions;
  • Provide a written outcome to the employee as soon as the decision is made.

The concept of procedural fairness is one that all decisions made in a company should be based on.  This will lead to a positive, equitable and fair workplace for all employees.


About Employment Innovations

Employment Innovations is one of Australia’s leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, payroll solutions, migration, human resource management and HR software.



The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.