What is the Fair Work Commission?
The Fair Work Commission is Australia’s national workplace relations tribunal. It is an independent body established under the Fair Work Act. It has branches in each capital city.
Its role is to act as the independent umpire, assisting employees and employers to maintain fair and productive workplaces.
Its functions include hearing unfair dismissal claims, but it also covers many aspects of employment, such as bargaining for and approving enterprise agreements, making and updating modern awards, setting minimum wages, resolving workplace disputes, and bullying claims.
The Fair Work Commission is not responsible for dealing with underpayment of wages claims, or other breaches of workplace laws. The Fair Work Ombudsman, a separate agency, is the first port of call for these kinds of queries.
What kind of decisions can the Fair Work Commission make after a conference?
If your claim does not settle at conciliation, and goes to a formal conference or hearing, the Fair Work Commissioner hearing your case can make a number of decisions:
- That you are not eligible to make a claim, due to one or more exclusions applying to you, and dismiss your claim
- That your claim is out of time, and either allow you to proceed with it nonetheless, or dismiss your claim
- That your dismissal was not unfair, as it was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable, and dismiss your claim
- That your dismissal was unfair
If the Commission finds that your dismissal was unfair, the Commissioner will then consider what “remedy” should be awarded to you. There are two main remedies available to them - reinstatement and compensation.