Unfair Dismissal at Work – How the Law Can Help

Documents unfair dismissal and gavel in a courtGetting fired is a stressful experience, especially when it’s unjust or done for the wrong reasons. However, there are legal provisions that may be able to help you regain your employment and/or receive compensation for lost wages.

These rights are covered under unfair dismissal laws or unfair termination laws. It’s essential to act quickly as you can only make a claim for unfair dismissal within three weeks (21 days) of being dismissed.

What is Unfair Dismissal?

Unfair dismissal is when your employer fires you in a harsh, unreasonable or unjust manner or you were forced to quit because of something your employer did. For example, if you were suddenly fired without being given a reason, you may be able to lodge an unfair dismissal claim to the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

If you were dismissed for a reason that had nothing to do with your conduct or performance and was not a dismissal, you may also be able to make a claim. If you were dismissed due to your performance but were not given a warning or an opportunity to respond to those reasons, then you may also be able to make an unfair dismissal claim.

What is Unlawful Termination?

Unlawful termination covers circumstances where it is illegal to fire or force you to quit, such as:

  • Absence from work due to sickness or injury
  • Absence due to maternity leave or other parental leave
  • Making a complaint about your employer
  • Taking or refusing to take industrial action (e.g. going on strike)
  • Taking court action against your employer
  • Having or not having a membership to a union
  • Acting as a representative of fellow employees (e.g. union rep)
  • Absence due to emergency management activity (e.g. CFA or SES)
  • Discrimination (race, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability etc.)

What to Do About an Unfair Dismissal or Unlawful Termination

To lodge an unfair dismissal, claim with the FWC, you have to have worked for your employer for at least six months or 12 months if they are a small business. You must also have earned less than the high annual income threshold (currently $142,000) and be covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement. If you earn more than the high annual income threshold, you must be covered by an award or enterprise agreement.

If you think you have been unlawfully terminated, you can make an application to the FWC under the general protection provisions relating to dismissal. An experienced workplace relations and compensation lawyer can help you determine whether you termination was unfair, assess the conduct of your employer and help pursue a claim on your behalf to ensure you get the best possible outcome.

Need Advice or Assistance Making an Unfair Dismissal Claim?

If you need advice or assistance about making an unfair dismissal claim, speak to our experienced lawyers in Brisbane. As members of the Queensland Law Society, our lawyers will examine your individual circumstances and offer timely advice on the best pathway forward.

At Phoenix Law, we specialise in Family Law, Personal Injury Law, Migration Law, Commercial Law, Property Law, Litigation Dispute Resolution, Estate Planning, International Trade Law, Intellectual Property Law and Workplace Relations Law. We speak your language, with a team of multilingual lawyers ensuring our clients get the best possible understanding of Australian law. Call our law firm today on 07 3180 0908 or contact us online.