1. Ensure That You Have Been Wrongfully Dismissed
The first step that anyone should take is to do their due diligence and find out if you have truly been wrongfully dismissed. How you can do this is to check what your employment status is. Your right will depend on whether you are an actual employee or not. In order to qualify for a wrongful dismissal claim, an employee has to have been employed for a minimum of six months. If you feel that you have been unfairly dismissed or forced to resign due to something your employer did, chances are you will be able to take the next step which is to apply for unfair dismissal with Fair Work.
2. Consult a Lawyer
It is important that you consult with a reliable lawyer if you feel that you have been wrongfully dismissed. Your lawyer will be able to go through your employment contract and ensure that you are in a position to claim compensation from your employer. If you earn more than $142,000 a year, you may not be eligible to apply for wrongful dismissal and will have to look to alternative legal routes which your lawyer will be able to advise you on.
3. Apply Within 21 Days
One of the most important things to take note of is that there is a 21-day time limit that starts the day after your dismissal. This window is the period of time in which you must apply to the commission regarding your wrongful dismissal. Any applications after 21 days will not be valid. If you think that you have been wrongfully dismissed, it is important that you contact the commission as soon as possible. Do note that if you have been dismissed before 31 December 2012, your application must have been lodged before 14 days).
4. Prepare Your Evidence
Almost as important as lodging your application is to ensure that you have all the necessary evidence required to prove your wrongful dismissal. It is important to understand that the Commission will not investigate the circumstances of your dismissal, meaning that if a hearing is held for your dismissal, you will have to provide evidence to the Commission to prove your circumstances. Working with a lawyer is highly recommended in order to ensure the best prospects for your case.
5. Conciliation Conference
Once your employer has been made aware of your application, they will be given a chance to respond. Usually, you will be given a date and time for a conciliation conference with your employer where Commission staff will try to resolve the dispute between both sides. Do take note that staff conciliators do not make any formal decisions about the merits of the application. If you and your previous employer cannot come to a mutual agreement, your application will be sent to a Commission Member for a decision.
6. The Final Say
If your case cannot come to a mutual agreement and is sent to a Commission Member for a hearing, do take note that the remedies that the Commission can order are limited by the law. Some of the outcomes you can expect include reinstatement, compensation of under 26 weeks of pay or non-financial remedies such as a written statement of service.
Getting terminated is never a pleasant experience. We hope that this article has helped you understand your rights and the steps that you should take if you feel like you have been wrongfully dismissed.