What is an unfair dismissal?

What is an unfair dismissal?


When you are let go by your employer, it is important to know if you have been sacked for a valid reason or unfairly dismissed.

When you believe you have been unfairly dismissed, you can lodge an Unfair Dismissal Claim within 21 days of the dismissal start date. This is an application submitted with the Fair Work Commission with the purpose to receive compensation or to be re-hired in the role.

Many reasons constitute an unfair dismissal, these include:
– if your dismissal was harsh or unreasonable
– not a genuine redundancy
– your dismissal was not in accordance with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code (providing you worked in a small business)

To lodge your application, you must:
– be covered by the national workplace relations system,
– be an employee who has been dismissed and
– meet the required eligibility criteria (i.e., minimum employment period)

When you make an Unfair Dismissal Claim, and a hearing is held make sure you have sufficient evidence to give to the Commission to prove you were unfairly dismissed.

However, it is important to remember that the Commission is not allowed to handle every unfair dismissal claim they receive as it is limited by its jurisdiction. Your employer may lodge a jurisdictional objective if they believe you do not fall within the Commission’s jurisdiction.

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If you believe the matters discussed above are relevant to your business, please contact Darren Smith of our office to discuss further.


Darren is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience, including working in the big 4 and medium sized firms before becoming a partner of a city based firm in 2000.

He has gained much experience and has extensive knowledge in providing business and taxation advice, superannuation planning, negotiation of sales and acquisitions of businesses and property development. His client base covers a wide range of industry groups.

Darren works with business owners to grow their businesses and create personal wealth within and outside of their business.


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