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Decoding Employment Rights: A Complete Breakdown of Unfair Dismissal and General Protections Claims

Facing sudden termination from your job can throw you into a whirlpool of uncertainty, particularly when the dismissal seems unjust. The Fair Work Commission may provide the justice and resolution you seek. This blog is crafted to unravel the complexities surrounding two common claim types – unfair dismissal and general protections. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to navigate this challenging process. Identifying the right claim that aligns with your situation is the first step towards maximizing your chances of success.

Understanding Unfair Dismissal: Are You a Candidate?

If you’ve been let go from your job under circumstances that appear severe, unreasonable, or unfair, or if you’re certain that your dismissal was without merit, you might have grounds for an unfair dismissal claim. However, you must meet certain conditions:

Your term of employment should have been at least six months (or 12 months for a small business employer).

Your employer must be a part of the National System or regulated by a modern award or enterprise agreement.

Your annual income must not exceed the high-income threshold, which is $167,500 as of July 1, 2023.

If your situation aligns with these conditions and you decide to lodge an unfair dismissal claim, remember to submit your application to the Fair Work Commission within 21 days of your dismissal.

The Impact of a Successful Unfair Dismissal Claim: What Can You Anticipate?

Successfully pleading an unfair dismissal claim can lead to one of two possible outcomes:

Reinstatement: This refers to being restored to your previous job position as it was before your dismissal. However, such instances are relatively infrequent.

Financial compensation: If a return to your old job is impractical, you could be awarded financial compensation for lost wages, capped at 26 weeks’ pay. Emotional distress is not covered under this claim.

Demystifying General Protections Claims: What’s the Procedure?

If you were dismissed because you exercised a right or attribute protected under the Fair Work Act—such as age, race, disability, gender, religious or political beliefs, union membership, or taking sick leave—you might be eligible to file a general protections claim.

One of the main advantages of general protections claims is that there is no minimum employment period requirement. Thus, no matter how long you were employed before dismissal, you can file a claim if you believe your termination was for a protected reason. As with unfair dismissal claims, you must lodge your application within 21 days of your dismissal.

The Result of a Successful General Protections Claim: What Can You Expect?

Success in a general protections claim can also result in either reinstatement or financial compensation. However, general protections claims offer some unique benefits:

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

You can seek compensation for non-economic damages, such as emotional pain resulting from the job loss.

Distinguishing Between Unfair Dismissal and General Protections Claims: The Key Differences

While both claim types offer potential legal remedies for unjust job dismissal, they have distinct attributes. General protections claims do not require a minimum employment period, which is a necessity for unfair dismissal claims. Moreover, while unfair dismissal claims concern the fairness of the dismissal process, general protections claims focus on the reason for dismissal.

Final Thoughts

While navigating the aftermath of job termination can be a daunting task, both unfair dismissal and general protections claims offer potential avenues for legal resolution. Understanding the fundamental differences between the two can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Therefore, take the time to fully grasp these options to ensure you’re making the best possible decision based on your unique circumstances.

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