Stumbling upon an unforeseen job termination can be compared to navigating a ship through a storm, especially when the dismissal seems groundless. In these moments, the Fair Work Commission can act as a guiding lighthouse for those in search of reparation. This blog post seeks to shed light on two commonly encountered types of claims — unfair dismissal and general protections — providing you with the crucial insights required to manage this intricate event. A profound understanding of these claims is pivotal in selecting the most appropriate avenue for your individual situation and enhancing your prospects of achieving a rewarding outcome.
Unravelling Unfair Dismissal: Are You a Suitable Candidate?
If you’ve suddenly found yourself jobless under circumstances that seem cruel, unjustified, or unreasonable, or if you firmly believe that your dismissal was groundless, lodging an unfair dismissal claim might be your potential solution. Nevertheless, there are certain prerequisites to be met:
Your employment term should span at least six months (or 12 months if employed by a small business).
Your employer should have been subjected to the National System, or be governed by a modern award or enterprise agreement.
Your annual remuneration must not cross the high-income threshold, currently fixed at $167,500 as of July 1, 2023.
If these stipulations echo your situation and you decide to lodge an unfair dismissal claim, it’s imperative to submit your application to the Fair Work Commission within 21 days of your termination date.
The Impact of a Successful Unfair Dismissal Claim: What Can You Expect?
Upon securing a successful unfair dismissal claim, there are typically two possible scenarios:
Reinstatement: This signifies returning to your position as it was before your dismissal. However, such an outcome is relatively uncommon.
Financial compensation: If reintegration into your former job isn’t a viable solution, you might be granted compensation for lost wages, capped at a maximum of 26 weeks’ pay. It’s worth noting that this claim doesn’t cover compensation for emotional distress or suffering.
Navigating General Protections Claims: The Route
If you’re facing dismissal 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 the exercise of sick leave—you may be eligible to file a general protections claim.
A significant upside of general protections claims is that they don’t demand a minimum employment duration. Therefore, irrespective of how long you were employed before your dismissal, you can initiate a claim if you think your termination was due to a protected reason. As with unfair dismissal claims, remember to lodge your application within 21 days of your dismissal.
The Result of a Successful General Protections Claim: What Lies Ahead?
A victory in a general protections claim can lead to either reinstatement or financial compensation. However, this claim offers several unique advantages:
There’s no limit on the compensation you can seek, potentially exceeding the 26 weeks’ pay limit affiliated with unfair dismissal claims.
You can claim compensation for non-monetary losses, such as emotional distress resulting from job loss.
Unfair Dismissal Versus General Protections Claims: Key Differences
While both types of claims provide possible relief in the event of an unfair termination, they possess several distinct nuances. Firstly, general protections claims do not require a minimum employment duration, which is essential for unfair dismissal claims. Secondly, unfair dismissal claims primarily focus on the fairness of the dismissal procedure, whereas general protections claims concentrate on the dismissal reason.
Wading through the aftermath of a job termination can feel like maneuvering through a maze, but both unfair dismissal and general protections claims provide potential legal remedies. Distinguishing the crucial differences between the two can significantly affect your case’s outcome. Thus, devoting effort to thoroughly understand these options ensures you’re choosing the most favorable course of action for your distinct situation.