I have been unfairly dismissed. What should I do?

If you have been unfairly dismissed from your place of work, it can be difficult to know how to respond. Read on for some tips to know your rights and help you feel empowered on what to do next.

First, it is important to understand exactly what an unfair dismissal is. According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, an unfair dismissal is when an employee is dismissed from their job in a harsh, unjust or unreasonable manner. If you feel your dismissal meets this description, you may qualify for compensation.

Do I qualify for compensation? 

Qualifying for compensation will depend on the following:

  1. How long you worked for your employer. The law protects employees who worked for at least 6 months, or 12 months if the employer has less than 15 employees, prior to being dismissed.
  2. What salary you were earning. The law protects employees who were on a salary less than the high-income threshold, as set by the Fair Work Relations (currently $158,600 per annum).
  3. What type of employee you were. If you were a casual employee, the law protects employees who worked on a regular and systematic basis and had a good reason to believe this would continue into the future.
  4. The reason you believe the dismissal was ‘harsh, unjust or unreasonable’. The law protects employees if their reasons are consistent with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code and their dismissal was not a case of genuine redundancy.

If you feel you meet these requirements, you can make a claim for unfair dismissal to the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission. It is important to note, however, that even if the dismissal was unfair and you meet the above-mentioned requirements, an employee will not always receive compensation.

How much compensation can I expect to receive?

If your claim is successful, the amount of ​​compensation you could receive will depend on the circumstances of your dismissal.
The maximum payout that the Fair Work Commission can order is half of your annual salary however most claims settle for much less than this.

What should I do next? 

Here are some tips on steps to follow if you feel you have been unfairly dismissed.

  1. Lodge your application with the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission within 21 days from the date of dismissal. Once you have submitted your application, the Commission will send a copy to your former employer to which they have 7 days to respond.
  2. Obtain alternative employment as soon as possible to recover the loss of pay you would have otherwise received; and
  3. Gather evidence you have to support your case. Firstly, you will need to prove that you were dismissed as opposed to you quitting. If you did not receive a termination letter, write down a summary of how your employer dismissed you and when.

Other evidence may consist of copies of emails from your employer, statements from witnesses, your employment agreement to indicate that you earned below the income threshold and met the minimum employment period.

At D’Angelo legal we have a team that specialises in Employment law and can assist you, the employee, in situations where you may have been unfairly or unlawfully terminated from your employment.
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