Having your employment cut short can be traumatic

It’s often hard to know what your next step should be.

If you’ve been dismissed unfairly, unreasonably, in breach of your employment contract, or because you sought to exercise your rights – you need to seek legal help immediately. There are many deadlines. You must ensure you don’t miss them.

One of the first questions you’re like to have is ‘what action can I take?’ This depends on why you have been sacked. The easiest way to answer this question is to give us a call on 1300 88 23 86. We’ll quickly be able to tell what’s gone one, and what your next move needs to be.

The main things your employer is likely to have got wrong are:

  • Unfairly dismissing you;
  • Wrongfully terminating your contract; or
  • Dismissing you for an unlawful reason.

In addition to getting your termination wrong, you may also have rights for accrued entitlements, redundancy pay and back-pay for underpayments.

When all of this is put together, you may be due a material amount of compensation.

We’re here to help you understand the best process to take, and how to go about it

What is unfair dismissal?

You have a claim for unfair dismissal if your employer has terminated you, or forced you to resign, in a ‘harsh, unjust or unreasonable manner’.

That’s all well and good, but what is ‘harsh, unjust or unreasonable’?

You’re employer can’t just terminate you because they feel like it. They need to have a reason. It is in the reason that we find out whether your termination was justified and done properly.

A lot comes down to the process your employer has followed. If you are doing what is expected of you, then you have a right to continued employment. If you are not doing what is expected of you, then you need to be told what you are doing wrong, and have the opportunity to correct it. If your employer has missed these steps, then your termination is likely to be unfair.

Your employer may have just acted on the spot, with no valid or well-formed reason for your termination. They may have got frustrated and angry, without taking the time to explain their concerns and give you a chance to change. A good indication that you have been unfairly dismissed is if you have not been given clear warnings about your performance, and adequate opportunity to respond to those warnings and improve your performance.

If the reason for your termination is that your employer no longer has work for you to do, then it may be that you are ‘redundant‘. This can be a valid reason to terminate you, but your employer needs to follow a ‘redundancy process’. They need to discuss with you the fact that they are out of work, and consult with you about other roles you may be suitable for. If it’s the case that you are genuinely redundant and can’t be redeployed, then you may be due additional redundancy pay.

If you think you have been unfairly terminated, then you need to lodge a claim with the Fair Work Commission within 21 days of your termination. This is a hard and fast time limit. Call us now on (02) 9199 8597 to get things moving.

What is wrongful termination?

The unfair dismissal laws don’t apply to everyone. If your annual income is over the high-income threshold, or you are terminated during a valid probationary period, then your employer can terminate your employment ‘at will’, i.e. without a valid reason.

But that’s not the end of things. Your employer still needs to comply with the notice requirements in the National Employment Standards, the provisions of your applicable Modern Award, the redundancy pay requirements, and the terms and conditions of your Employment Contract. If your employer breaches any of these rules or terms, then you will have a valid claim for wrongful termination.

What is a general protections claim?

As an employee you have a number of important rights in the workplace. The law protects these rights, and if they are breached, there are very serious consequences for your employer.

A general protections claim arises where your employer takes ‘adverse action’ against you for a ‘prohibited reason‘.

An ‘adverse action’ includes terminating your employment, or refusing to employ you. It also includes discriminating against you, or injuring you, in the course of your employment.

A ‘prohibited reason’ includes:

  • Your participation in lawful union activities;
  • Discrimination, based on such things as your race, skin colour, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer’s responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction, or social origin; and
  • Your exercise of a ‘workplace right‘, such as the right to take leave or to make a complaint about your employment.

If you prove that an adverse action was taken (e.g. you are sacked), your employer must then prove they didn’t take the adverse action for a prohibited reason. They need to justify their action.

In short, if you think you were terminated because you sought to exercise a workplace right, for example, to take leave or make a compliant, then you have a good chance of a successful general protections claim.

What you need to do now

Call us on 1300 88 23 86 for a no-obligation and confidential chat.

We will help you understand:

  • Whether your employer has followed the correct procedure before terminating your;
  • If you have an unfair dismissal claim, a claim for wrongfully termination, or a general protections claim;
  • What you may be entitled to by way of compensation, or reinstatement; and
  • How to lodge your claim and run your case.

Call and speak directly with our experienced employment lawyers to understand your rights.