Encountering an abrupt job termination can be akin to walking through a storm, more so when the dismissal appears baseless. During such times, the Fair Work Commission can serve as a critical lifeline for those seeking redress. This blog post aims to unpack two prevalent types of claims — unfair dismissal and general protections — equipping you with vital knowledge needed to handle this complex event. A deep understanding of these claims is fundamental to determining the most fitting route for your unique situation and boosting your chances of securing a satisfactory outcome.
Decoding Unfair Dismissal: Are You The Right Fit?
If you’ve been left without a job under conditions that appear severe, unjust, or unreasonable, or if you’re certain that your dismissal was without substantial cause, an unfair dismissal claim could be your pathway. But, certain requirements must be satisfied:
Your employment period should be a minimum of six months (or 12 months for a small business).
Your employer should have been part of the National System, or supervised by a modern award or enterprise agreement.
Your annual income must not go beyond the high-income threshold, which is currently $167,500 as of July 1, 2023.
If these conditions mirror your situation and you choose to make an unfair dismissal claim, don’t forget to file your application with the Fair Work Commission within 21 days of your termination date.
The Ramifications of a Successful Unfair Dismissal Claim: What Should You Anticipate?
Upon winning an unfair dismissal claim, you may encounter one of two potential outcomes:
Reinstatement: This refers to returning to your job as it was before your dismissal. However, such outcomes are relatively infrequent.
Financial compensation: If returning to your previous job isn’t an option, you could be awarded compensation for lost earnings, up to a maximum of 26 weeks’ pay. This claim, however, does not accommodate compensation for emotional distress or suffering.
Exploring General Protections Claims: The Roadmap
If you’ve been dismissed due to exercising a protected right or attribute under the Fair Work Act—like age, race, disability, gender, religious or political beliefs, union membership, or the use of sick leave—you may have grounds for a general protections claim.
A primary boon of general protections claims is that there’s no stipulation for a minimum length of employment. Hence, irrespective of your employment duration prior to dismissal, you can file a claim if you think your termination was because of a protected reason. Similar to unfair dismissal claims, it’s essential to file your application within 21 days of your dismissal.
The Rewards of a Successful General Protections Claim: What Can You Expect?
Prevailing in a general protections claim can result in either reinstatement or financial compensation. However, this type of claim presents a few distinct advantages:
There’s no cap on the compensation you can demand, potentially surpassing the 26 weeks’ pay limit related to unfair dismissal claims.
You can seek compensation for non-financial losses, such as emotional distress resulting from the job loss.
Unfair Dismissal Versus General Protections Claims: Pivotal Differences
While both types of claims provide relief in the face of an unfair termination, they harbor several key distinctions. Firstly, there’s no minimum employment duration requirement for general protections claims, which is a prerequisite in unfair dismissal claims. Secondly, unfair dismissal focuses more on the fairness of the dismissal process, whereas general protections claims zero in on the reason for dismissal.
Dealing with job termination can feel like climbing a mountain, but both unfair dismissal and general protections claims provide possible legal avenues. Recognizing the salient differences between the two can markedly sway the outcome of your case. Therefore, devoting time to comprehensively understand these options ensures you’re taking the most beneficial action for your unique circumstances.