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Surviving Sudden Job Loss: A Comprehensive Breakdown of Unfair Dismissal and General Protections Claims

The unexpected loss of a job can feel like navigating through a storm, particularly when the reasons behind the dismissal seem unjust. The Fair Work Commission can serve as a beacon of hope in these unsettling times. This blog post will decode the complexities of two prominent types of claims – unfair dismissal and general protections – providing you with essential insights to handle this intricate scenario. A thorough understanding of these claims is critical in determining the right route for your unique situation and improving your chances of a successful outcome.

Unveiling Unfair Dismissal: Could You Be Eligible?

If you find yourself suddenly jobless under circumstances that seem harsh, unjust, or unreasonable, or if you are convinced that your dismissal lacked a valid reason, you could consider lodging an unfair dismissal claim. However, you must satisfy certain conditions:

Your employment duration should be at least six months (or 12 months if your employer is a small business).

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

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

If these criteria reflect your situation, and you decide to file an unfair dismissal claim, make sure to submit your application to the Fair Work Commission within 21 days of your termination date.

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

Securing a successful unfair dismissal claim can lead to one of two possible outcomes:

Reinstatement: This refers to your return to your job as it was prior to your dismissal. Such instances, however, are relatively uncommon.

Financial compensation: If returning to your previous role isn’t possible, you might be granted compensation for lost earnings, up to a maximum of 26 weeks’ pay. However, this claim doesn’t provide compensation for emotional distress or suffering.

Exploring General Protections Claims: The Procedure

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

A significant advantage of general protections claims is that they don’t have a minimum employment duration requirement. Hence, regardless of your employment length before dismissal, you can lodge a claim if you believe your termination was due to a protected reason. Like unfair dismissal claims, your application must be submitted within 21 days of your dismissal.

The Fallout of a Successful General Protections Claim: What’s On Offer?

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

There’s no cap on the compensation you can seek, which could exceed the 26 weeks’ pay limit associated with unfair dismissal claims.

You can seek compensation for non-economic damages, like emotional distress resulting from job loss.

Unfair Dismissal vs General Protections Claims: Key Differences

Although both types of claims offer potential recourse in the event of an unfair dismissal, they carry distinct differences. Firstly, general protections claims do not require a minimum employment duration, a necessity for unfair dismissal claims. Secondly, while unfair dismissal claims primarily focus on the fairness of the dismissal process, general protections claims emphasize the reason for dismissal.

In Summary

Dealing with a job dismissal can feel like maneuvering through a labyrinth, but both unfair dismissal and general protections claims offer potential legal remedies. Understanding the key differences between the two can significantly affect the outcome of your case. Taking the time to fully comprehend these options ensures you’re choosing the most beneficial path for your particular circumstances.

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