Unfair Dismissal Lawyers

If you dismiss an employee, there is a chance that they will claim that the dismissal was unfair. Under Australian law, you are not permitted to dismiss an employee in a way that is harsh, unjust or unreasonable. Unfair dismissal claims are governed by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and are heard by the Fair Work Commission.

Eligibility to Claim

Not every employee is eligible to make an unfair dismissal claim. The employee must have completed a minimum period of employment of either 6 months (for businesses with 15 or more employees) or 12 months (for businesses with less than 15 employees). The dismissal must not have been a genuine redundancy, and the employee must not have been summarily dismissed for serious misconduct.

If the employee meets the eligibility criteria, they can make a claim for unfair dismissal within 21 days of the dismissal taking effect. If the claim is successful, the Fair Work Commission may order that you reinstate the employee, compensate them for lost wages, or take other appropriate action.

Avoiding Claims

To avoid an unfair dismissal claim, you should ensure that you always have a valid reason for dismissing an employee, and that you follow a fair and reasonable process in doing so. This includes giving your employee an opportunity to respond to any allegations against them and providing them with a reasonable amount of time to improve their performance or address any issues before termination. You should also keep accurate records of the dismissal process and seek legal advice if you are unsure about whether a dismissal is harsh, unjust or unreasonable.

Defending a Claim

Defending against an unfair dismissal claim can be a complex and challenging process. The first step that you should take after being notified of a claim is to seek legal advice from an experienced Gold Coast employment lawyers. Your lawyer will help you to understand your rights and obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009 and provide guidance on the best approach to defending the claim.

You will need to collect any relevant evidence to support your case, such as performance reviews, emails, and witness statements. You may need to attend conciliation or mediation meetings with your employee. This is often a good opportunity to reach an outcome and avoid a hearing. 

If you are not able to settle the matter at mediation or conciliation, your employee may pursue the matter to a hearing in front of the Fair Work Commission or the Federal Court. Your case will rely on the evidence you can compile to demonstrate that you acted fairly and reasonably. You may need to cross-examine both your former employees and their witnesses. 

Unfair dismissal laws are complex and dealing with an unfair dismissal claim can have a devastating impact on your business. We can provide expert advice in this area. We frequently appear before the Fair Work Commission, Federal Court and Supreme, District and Magistrates Courts for a range of employment law matters.

For expert employment law advice contact [email protected] or call 1300 421 599.