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Deciphering Your Legal Recourse Following Job Loss: Unfair Dismissal and General Protections Dismissal

If you’ve recently lost your job and feel it was unjust, you’re likely to be looking for ways to fight back. The two most prevalent legal actions available to you in this situation are an Unfair Dismissal claim and a General Protections Dismissal claim.

This guide will give you a general overview of these two options. Please remember, this is just a starting point and not exhaustive l. If you’re considering making either an Unfair Dismissal or a General Protections claim, we recommend seeking assistance from Frontline Employment Defenders.

Unpacking Unfair Dismissal:

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), you could potentially lodge an Unfair Dismissal claim if you meet certain criteria:

  1. You’ve been dismissed
  2. The dismissal was harsh, unjust, or unreasonable
  3. The dismissal was labeled as redundancy, but it was not genuine
  4. Your tenure was at least 12 months with a small business (fewer than 15 employees), or six months for non-small businesses

A) Understanding Dismissal:

Dismissal occurs when you’re fired or let go. Additionally, you might have been dismissed if your employer forced you to resign (for instance, through consistent bullying), ceased giving you shifts without formally terminating your employment, significantly demoted or transferred you, or unreasonably asked you to relocate.

IMPORTANT: You only have 21 days from the dismissal date to act, including weekends.

B) Was the Dismissal Unfair?

A dismissal can be unfair if it was harsh, unjust, or unreasonable. For example, being let go due to minor mistakes or lateness, being the only person dismissed for a group mistake, or facing unrealistic workloads and uncommunicated performance expectations. If your position was declared redundant, but the job still needs to be done or you weren’t properly consulted, the redundancy might not be genuine.

Delving into General Protections Dismissal:

A General Protections Dismissal arises when an employer dismisses you for exercising a workplace right or for discriminatory reasons.

Workplace rights include entitlements to proper pay, leave, union participation, raising complaints about work conditions, or enjoying benefits provided under an industrial law or instruction.

Discriminatory grounds can range from sex, carer’s responsibilities, disability, race, or age. If you’ve been terminated for discriminatory reasons or because you attempted to exercise a workplace right, you might be able to bring a General Protections claim to the Fair Work Commission under the Fair Work Act.

Choosing Between Unfair Dismissal and General Protections Claims:

Deciding between an Unfair Dismissal and General Protections claim, or considering other actions for unfair job loss, can be complex. Each scenario has its own merits and demerits, and the best choice depends on your unique circumstances.

To make an informed decision, we strongly contacting Frontline Employment Defenders Now at or by calling 1300 089 353

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