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A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Unfair Dismissal and General Protections Claims

The turmoil of an unexpected job termination can be overwhelming, especially when you suspect foul play. If you think your dismissal was unjust, your next recourse may be the Fair Work Commission to seek redress. In this comprehensive guide, we aim to simplify two common types of claims—unfair dismissal and general protections—to arm you with the knowledge to make informed decisions. Gaining insight into these claims is vital in selecting the one that suits your unique situation and enhances your chances of success.

Understanding Unfair Dismissal: Do You Qualify?

If you find yourself jobless due to what you perceive as harsh, unjust, or unreasonable circumstances, or if you firmly believe that your dismissal was without valid cause, you may be eligible to lodge an unfair dismissal claim. But before proceeding, it’s essential to note the following requirements:

Your employment should have lasted at least six months (or 12 months for small businesses).

Your employer must fall under the National System, or be governed by a modern award or enterprise agreement.

Your annual income must not exceed the high-income threshold, currently set at $167,500 (as of July 1, 2023).

If these prerequisites align with your situation and you wish to pursue an unfair dismissal claim, remember to submit your application to the Fair Work Commission within 21 days from your dismissal date.

The Rewards of a Successful Unfair Dismissal Claim: What Can You Expect?

On successfully proving an unfair dismissal claim, you can expect one of the following outcomes:

Reinstatement: This would mean getting your job back in its pre-dismissal state. However, such results are quite infrequent.

Financial compensation: If returning to your job is not possible, you could be awarded compensation for lost earnings, up to a maximum of 26 weeks’ pay. This claim does not cater to emotional distress or suffering.

Deciphering General Protections Claims: How Does it Work?

If your dismissal was triggered due to exercising a protected right or attribute under the Fair Work Act—such as age, race, disability, gender, religious or political beliefs, union membership, or utilization of sick leave—you may be entitled to lodge a general protections claim.

A significant advantage of general protections claims is that they do not necessitate a minimum employment duration. Thus, irrespective of your employment tenure before dismissal, you can make a claim if you feel your termination was due to a protected reason. Similar to unfair dismissal claims, your application must be lodged within 21 days of your dismissal.

The Benefits of a Successful General Protections Claim: What Can You Gain?

A successful general protections claim can also lead to either reinstatement or financial compensation. However, general protections claims come with additional unique benefits:

There’s no cap on the compensation you can pursue, potentially surpassing the 26 weeks’ pay limit linked with unfair dismissal claims.

You can seek compensation for non-economic losses, such as emotional distress due to the job loss.

Key Takeaways

If you’re dealing with a job dismissal, both unfair dismissal and general protections claims provide potential routes to legal remedy. Understanding the critical differences between these two can significantly impact your case’s resolution. It’s always recommended to consult Frontline Employment Defenders, to ensure you’re taking the most effective steps forward.

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