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General Unfair Dismissal Faqs

Please see our unfair dismissal frequently asked questions below.

  • I’m worried that I’m about to get dismissed. Can I file to stop this happening?

    You can't lodge a claim for unfair dismissal before you've actually been dismissed, but there are important steps you can take if you think it's a risk that this might happen.

    For example, you should keep copies of key documents that might turn out to be important if you get dismissed, such as:

    • Performance Reviews
    •  Notes of conversations with your employer where your role or performance is being discussed
    • Copies of key documents, like HR policies.

    If you're a member of a union then your union will have specialist people who can help you in this situation and give you practical advice, so please contact your union as soon as possible. There are also other legal avenues in the Fair Work Act and in other laws, such as anti-discrimination laws, which do not depend on a dismissal having already happened.

    Slater and Gordon has a number of specialist legal professionals who may be able to assist with inquiries such as these; please call us on 1800 555 777 to ask about an appointment.

    Please note that consultations around these sorts of issues will cost you a fee; a consultant will discuss this with you on the phone before you're asked to proceed with confirming an appointment.

  • I’ve been given notice but I haven’t finished work yet. Can I make a claim for unfair dismissal yet?

    To use Slater and Gordon's Online Unfair Dismissal Lawyer, you'll need to wait until your dismissal actually takes effect. This is often a different date from the date when your employer gave you notice that you would be dismissed.

    The 21-day time limit for filing a claim with the Fair Work Commission starts the day after the day your dismissal becomes effective, not the day you were given notice.

    So, as an example only, if you received a notice of dismissal from your employer dated 1 February, but the notice said your dismissal became effective on 5 February, then the 21 days starts from 6 February – the day AFTER your dismissal becomes effective.

    Please note that Slater and Gordon's Online Unfair Dismissal Lawyer uses a 14-day time limit rather than the 21 days provided for by the Fair Work Commission. This is because it takes a few days to look at your draft claim and finalise it before it is lodged. So we ask you to submit your claim to us no later than 14 days from the date of your dismissal. Of course you can still proceed later than that but you'll need to do it yourself via the Fair Work Commission website.

  • I resigned from my job, but I felt under pressure to do so. Can I file a claim for unfair dismissal?

    The question of being forced to resign is a tricky one. You will need to prove that you didn’t resign voluntarily – and the line between you resigning voluntarily and a situation where you were forced to resign is a narrow one. Establishing the facts around situations like this is very important.

    As a general rule, it’s difficult to make a claim for unfair dismissal if you have resigned.

    However, if your resignation was forced, it may be seen by the Fair Work Commission as a termination, and it’s possible that decision could be seen as unfair.

    Slater and Gordon’s Online Unfair Dismissal Lawyer isn’t the most suitable service for you in these circumstances. Slater and Gordon’s Online Unfair Dismissal Service is a limited, fixed price service and is not suited to assessing all employment or dismissal circumstances.

    We recommend you seek alternative legal advice or you may want to visit the website of the Fair Work Ombudsman, an independent Federal Government agency that provides a wide range of information about rights and obligations relating to employment

  • I think I was dismissed because I queried my entitlements. Is this legal?

    If you were dismissed because you asked about, or insisted upon, your entitlements, such as sick leave, or overtime payment, this is unlikely to be fair. It might also breach other parts of the Fair Work Act which make it illegal to dismiss an employee for pursuing their workplace rights.

    Slater and Gordon’s Online Unfair Dismissal Lawyer service will ask a few questions to help capture key information about this issue. You can then discuss it further with a Slater and Gordon legal professional as part of the telephone consultation included in Slater and Gordon’s Online Unfair Dismissal Lawyer service.

  • I wasn't given a reason for my dismissal. Is this unfair?

    In general, your employer is required to give you a valid reason for your dismissal, so if they haven't provided any reason, that's certainly grounds for taking a close look at the situation.

    Generally, the Fair Work Commission will look at this kind of issue in two ways. First, they'll generally say that if you weren't given a reason, that wasn't fair. But second, they'll also look at the facts, and see if in fact your employer had reasonable grounds to dismiss you anyway. If the employer had a valid reason to dismiss you, then even if they haven't provided a reason, they can still use that reason later to justify the dismissal.

  • I’ve been given notice but I haven’t finished work yet. Can I make a claim for unfair dismissal yet?

    To use Slater and Gordon's Online Unfair Dismissal Lawyer, you'll need to wait until your dismissal actually takes effect. This is often a different date from the date when your employer gave you notice that you would be dismissed.

    The 21-day time limit for filing a claim with the Fair Work Commission starts the day after the day your dismissal becomes effective, not the day you were given notice.

    So, as an example only, if you received a notice of dismissal from your employer dated 1 February, but the notice said your dismissal became effective on 5 February, then the 21 days starts from 6 February – the day AFTER your dismissal becomes effective.

    Please note that Slater and Gordon's Online Unfair Dismissal Lawyer uses a 14-day time limit rather than the 21 days provided for by the Fair Work Commission. This is because it takes a few days to look at your draft claim and finalise it before it is lodged. So we ask you to submit your claim to us no later than 14 days from the date of your dismissal. Of course you can still proceed later than that but you'll need to do it yourself via the Fair Work Commission website.

  • I have been demoted. Can I claim for unfair dismissal?

    As a general rule, it is difficult to make a claim for unfair dismissal if you have been demoted, especially if you have taken up the demoted position.

    If you have been demoted, Slater and Gordon’s Online Unfair Dismissal Lawyer isn’t the most suitable service for you. Slater and Gordon’s Online Unfair Dismissal Lawyer is a limited, fixed price service and is not suited to assessing all employment or dismissal circumstances.

    We recommend you seek alternative legal advice or you may want to visit the website of the Fair Work Ombudsman, an independent Federal Government agency that provides a wide range of information about rights and obligations relating to employment

  • If I can't prove that I've been dismissed unfairly, do I have other options?

    Yes – just because you're not eligible to claim for unfair dismissal, or if your case for unfair dismissal isn't strong, there might be other things that your employer did that mean you can pursue a legal action against them.

    Some of these things might include:

    • Breach of contract – many employees have an individual employment contract. Most employment contracts contain provisions about notice and termination of employment; it's important to check whether your dismissal was in accordance with these provisions. If you do not have a specified notice period, you might be entitled to a period of notice determined by a court.
    • Discrimination – If you think your dismissal was for discriminatory reasons, there may be other legal avenues which are better suited to your circumstances. There are federal and state anti-discrimination laws which may give you a better chance at winning your case, or getting properly compensated. There are also ‘general protections’ provisions in the Fair Work Act which would allow you to make a claim about some of these things.
    • State tribunals – if you were an employee of a State Government that made you ineligible to use the Fair Work Commission, there may be state-based alternatives you can look at.

    There are also some potential cases that might succeed at the Fair Work Commission but aren't really well suited to Slater and Gordon's Online Unfair Dismissal Lawyer service. For example, some people who are called "independent contractors" (and therefore generally ineligible to file a claim for unfair dismissal) might in fact be employees, and therefore eligible to file the claim. These sorts of cases can be tricky, and require a fair amount of legal work. Slater and Gordon’s Online Unfair Dismissal Service is a limited, fixed price service and not suited to assessing all employment or dismissal circumstances.

    However, there may still be a valid claim and so we’re happy to talk to you further to explain the costs and process involved. You can call Slater and Gordon on 1800 555 777.

Online Unfair Dismissal Tool

Use our online tool to determine if you are eligible for an unfair dismissal claim with Slater and Gordon.

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