Have you been unfairly dismissed?

If you feel you have been unfairly dismissed by your employer there are various avenues to resolve your complaint. Individuals employed by private enterprises in Queensland are covered by the national workplace relations system and unfair dismissal laws governed by the Fair Work Commission (FWC). If you are not a private enterprise employee, you may be able to seek a solution under state legislation.

Submit an unfair dismissal claim to the Fair Work Commission

If you believe your employer has dismissed you unfairly you can seek compensation or reinstatement from your employer by lodging an unfair dismissal remedy application with the FWC. 

Before submitting a complaint to the FWC it is important to understand that you are entering into a formal legal process. If your case proceeds to a hearing you need to present evidence to a member of the commission, who will decide whether your dismissal was fair or not. 

If you want your employer to take part in a conciliation conference, making an application and paying the $67.20 filing fee to the FWC tends to achieve this goal. The filing fee increased July 1 2014 from $65.50.

Make a discrimination claim under state anti-discrimination legislation

You can lodge a discrimination complaint to the Anti Discrimination Commission Queensland (ADCQ) if you think you have been subjected to discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation or other behaviour proscribed by the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.

If the ADCQ accepts your complaint, a compulsory conciliation conference will be held between you and the person or persons you have laid the complaint against within six weeks of notification.

Submit a civil claim for breach of contract with the Magistrates’ Court 

The most common breach of contract claims presented to the Magistrates’ Court are for an employer’s failure to give reasonable notice to the plaintiff. Reasonable notice is a separate concept to the statutory notice period. What is deemed a reasonable dismissal period can vary. Factors that can influence this include how many years of continuous service the employee has completed.

It is not possible for the Magistrates’ Court to order reinstatement of the dismissed employee. The court provides rulings on monetary disputes of up to $150,000 for civil claims. As the plaintiff, there is a risk you may be ordered to pay an adverse costs order. 

An adverse costs order is generally not applicable if the claim is made to the FWC. It may apply if the matter proceeds to hearing, but this is not always the case.

Talk to an employment contract lawyer about your case and what course of action will be right for you.