Companies may need to consider the performance of existing staff and decide if disciplinary action should be taken before 1 July 2009. That is when the changes to unfair dismissal laws come into affect. These changes may present a surprise for some businesses which may have become relaxed with their dismissal procedures in recent years. The new industrial relations system provides for increased union workplace entry rights and Fair Work Australia to hear unfair dismissal claims and quickly settle industrial disputes. Businesses that employ fewer than 100 employees will no longer have an overall exemption to unfair dismissal claims. Under the new laws, businesses that employ less than 15 fulltime equivalent staff will have 12 months to assess the suitability of the employee. On the other hand, businesses with more than 15 employees will be subject to a six month qualifying period. Employees can be dismissed during that time provided they have complied with the fair dismissal code. Not following the relatively simple process may place some employers at risk. Business owners and managers should begin to review procedures and policies to ensure their organisation and management are familiar with the new legal requirements and that they have valid and documented reasons for termination.