Have you been recently fired from your job, but you feel like something’s not quite right? It’s possible that you were terminated on unfair grounds. You’re not the only one if that’s the case.
If you feel like your employer has violated federal laws, state laws or labor laws regarding your termination, read on and see whether this applies to your situation.
Has your employer violated the following:
It’s illegal for your employer to fire you because of your sexual orientation, race, gender, religion, age, national origin, political views, physical features, pregnancy, being a parent, disability, marital status or carer responsibilities.
The Fair Work Act 2009 has more details regarding this, but essentially, no matter whether you’re full time, part time, casual, an apprentice or a trainee, any kind of employment discrimination on your personal attributes is unlawful.
Remember, this does not include being dismissed on the grounds of performance reviews.
If you continuously give a poor performance at work, then it’s not unlawful for your employer to dismiss you.
Your employment contract?
It may be possible that your employer has breached your employment contract. A breach of contract includes terminating your fixed-term contract before its end.
If you fear that this has happened, try to get your hands on an employee handbook or review the company policy. This will be useful when you lodge an application to the Fair Work Commission.
Also, keep in mind that in Australia, at-will employment, which is where an employer can terminate an employee at any time without given reason, is not recognised. Your employer must provide you with a notice if you’re to be terminated, often a period between one and five weeks.
Other workplace rights?
This includes being able to report illegal behaviours, such as infringements on safety, taking a temporary break from work because of an injury or illness, or discussing issues about your working conditions with coworkers.
You also have the right to make a complaint or inquiry about your employment, which includes reporting instances of sexual harassment.
If you believe that you have been terminated for exercising your rights, then you have grounds to take action.
How do you file a wrongful termination claim?
If you’re definitely sure that your termination was unlawful, then there is a course of action that you can take, specifically an unlawful termination, unfair dismissal or general protections dismissal application.
There are some requirements that you will need to fulfill in order to lodge an application: you need to work continuously for one year in a small business, or six months in a medium or big business, be covered by an enterprise agreement and make less than the high-income threshold.
The application form is available from the Fair Work Commission’s website and offices and must be submitted within 21 days after your wrongful termination.
You may be granted an extension if you are able to provide a reason for the delay. Keep in mind that you will have to pay a fee of $71.90 when lodging the application.
This can be waived for you if the payment will cause you major hardship. To apply for this waive, you will have to submit a waiver of application fee form at the same time as your application form.
While the Commission cannot give you legal advice, they can help you fill out these forms or point you to certain documents such as a piece of legislation that is relevant to your case.
For this reason, it’s highly recommended that for serious cases you consult with a law firm before lodging an application, to see if this is a suitable course of action for your circumstances.
Along with this, an employment lawyer can assist you with Fair Work Commission conferences and any claims for compensation.
If you are successful, and the Commission deems your dismissal as unlawful, then your employer can be ordered to give you your job back, compensate you with money, or both.
If you would like more information, please check out the Fair Work Commission website.
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