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What is an unfair dismissal?

An unfair dismissal happens when you are sacked in a harsh, unjust or unreasonable manner.

Harsh means your dismissal was disproportionate to the offence that you committed.

Unjust means your employer did not have a valid reason to sack you.

Unreasonable is when your employer acted unreasonably when dismissing you, or you were not given procedural fairness.

An unfair dismissal also happens when it is not consistent with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code, or if the dismissal is not a genuine redundancy.

Not every dismissal qualifies as unfair, but that’s where our expert team at Fair Work Claims can help. 

We can tell you if your claim has a chance of success and advise you of your best options moving forward.


Who is eligible to make an unfair dismissal claim?

You are eligible to make a claim for unfair dismissal:

  1.  If you are covered by a Modern Award or an applicable Enterprise Agreement.
  2.  If you earn less than $158,500 annually.
  3.  And if you have been employed for more than six months (12 months if you work for a small business with less than 15 employees).

Strict 21-day deadline

Unfair dismissal claims have a strict 21-day deadline from the date of your dismissal.

The Fair Work Commission will not accept a late dismissal application unless there are exceptional circumstances, so don’t delay!


The Fair Work Commission

Most unfair dismissal claims are adjudicated by the Fair Work Commission.

After we file your claim, your employer will be given an opportunity to respond.

The Commission will then invite you to participate in a conciliation conference.

The idea of the conciliation conference is to see if the matter can be settled between you and your employer before it is escalated further.

During conciliation, you may be be offered monetary compensation, or an apology, or a chance to resign, or a Letter of Service or a positive reference (or a combination of these) in exchange for agreeing to settle your claim.

Unfair dismissal matters that don’t settle at conciliation are escalated to a full hearing in the Fair Work Commission.


Financial compensation

Financial compensation can help cover your costs while you search for a new job.

Our employment lawyers and industrial advocates at Fair Work Claims have extensive experience negotiating substantial settlements for our clients who have been sacked in a harsh, unjust or unreasonable manner.


Clearing your name

An unfair dismissal can make it hard to secure work with a new employer.

Our Fair Work Claims team can help you secure a positive reference, or a Letter of Service, a written apology, or even a chance to resign from your old job to clear your name and reputation.


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LAST UPDATED: April 2022

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