Unfair dismissal is a statutory right for an employee to apply for relief on the grounds that the termination of their employment was harsh, unjust or unreasonable.
We have acted for business owners and also employees in this jurisdiction.
What could be considered harsh, unjust or unreasonable depends on the circumstances but it could include:
- it was “harsh” because the method of delivery of the termination was not thought through very well and was harsh in the circumstances;
- it was “unjust” because the employee did not commit the thing complained of or the termination was disproportionate to the employee’s alleged conduct, error or poor performance;
- it was “unreasonable” because the evidence relied on would not support the conclusion reached in terminating the employee.
This area is best managed by taking a proactive approach by employers. Employers should seek advices before terminating an employee and ensure that they have adopted best management practices in managing the employee’s conduct or performance.
There is a strict time period for applying for unfair dismissal. Employees need to get advice promptly after being terminated to ensure they don’t miss that time period.
There is also a minimum employment period that must be served to qualify for relief in the unfair dismissal jurisdiction. Small business employees must be employed for a minimum of 12 months. Other employees must be employed for at least 6 months.
Once an unfair dismissal application is made with Fair Work, the parties are then involved in a process which can only be described as litigious and are best represented by lawyers as lawyers are familiar with litigation practices.
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