Reasons (7) Why You Should Lodge An Unfair Dismissal Claim

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The reasons why you should lodge an unfair dismissal claim is important reading. Having been dismissed you are now wondering whether you should lodge an unfair dismissal claim? Are you wondering whether an unfair dismissal claim is the right move for you and your future? We can help! We often receive enquiries in which people ask whether it is worth lodging an unfair dismissal claim after they have been dismissed. Lodging an unfair dismissal claim may seem like a daunting or complicated ordeal, but in most instances it may be a rewarding experience. Here are 8 reasons why you should lodge an unfair dismissal claim:

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1. You may regret not lodging it – Do it now before it is too late!

In the Fair Work Commission, there is a strict 21 days to lodge a claim of unfair dismissal. There are only very exceptional circumstances in which the Fair Work Commission will grant an extension of time. These are circumstances that are out of the ordinary course (not regularly, routinely or normally encountered), unusual, special, or uncommon. They need not be unique, unprecedented, or very rare. Exceptional circumstances may be a single exceptional event or a series of events that together are exceptional The assessment of whether exceptional circumstances exist requires a consideration of all the relevant circumstances. Importantly, ignorance of the timeframe for lodgement is not an exceptional circumstance.

Thus, regretting not lodging your claim on time will not be an acceptable reason for a delay in lodgment. Although you may be worried about lodging your claim at all, we would strongly encourage you to consider doing so and not missing out on this time-sensitive opportunity.

2. Clear your name.

Being dismissed may impact your employment history or prospects of finding future work. If you strongly believe you have been unfairly dismissed, it may be important for you to clear your name. Prior to a formal hearing or arbitration, you may strike a deal with your employer in which they agree to rescind the termination and allow you to resign. This may be accompanied with a statement of service or reference. In the alternative, a member of the Fair work Commission will determine, at a formal hearing or arbitration, whether the dismissal was ultimately fair. In this decision, your name may be cleared as the member may find that there was no valid reason for your dismissal or you were subject to procedural inefficiencies, rendering your dismissal harsh, unjust and unreasonable.

3. Make your employer PAY.

Not only can you force your employer to pay in a moral sense by holding them accountable for their actions, but an employer may also be required to pay you money. With an unfair dismissal claim, you can seek monetary compensation for your economic loss. Although there is a cap on the amount of compensation you can seek (26 weeks pay) and you cannot seek compensation in the form of damages, making your employer pay any money to you will make them take you seriously. More often than not, employers are concerned with their finances and having the pay out any ex-employee for their unfair dismissal claim, will teach them a valuable and potentially expensive lesson.

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4. Cost-friendly Litigation

Commencing any sort of litigation or court action can be an expensive ordeal and in the event of a dismissal, unfair dismissal claims are only type of claim available to an employee. An employee may choose to pursue an action under the common law in the courts but due to the cost of Federal Court actions, the employee may be facing tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Luckily, the unfair dismissal regime in the Fair Work Commission, is a relatively cost-friendly process. If you are seeking advice or representation, many firms or companies will offer their services on a no-win, no-fee basis or for a reasonable fixed fee. This allows greater access to justice for more people, without fear that a great deal of money will need to be spent before a desirable outcome is achieved.

5. Quick Outcome or Determination

Once an unfair dismissal application is lodged, the Fair Work Commission will set the matter down for a conciliation conference, a private conference conducted by an independent conciliator from the Fair Work Commission. This conference is an informal method of resolving an Unfair Dismissal dispute in which an independent conciliator will assist the parties in exploring options for resolution and help them to reach an agreement without the need for a formal hearing or court proceedings. This conference is usually set within 3-5 weeks of the application being lodged and approximately 78% of matters settle at these conferences. In the event that the matter does not settle and it does proceed to a formal hearing, a decision will likely be handed down within a few months. In comparison to court proceedings, the Fair Work Commission has a relatively quick timeline for when an employee can expect to achieve a desirable outcome.

6. Deed of Release.

If an employee and their ex-employer reach an agreement prior to a formal hearing, it is likely that the terms of this agreement will be reflected in a document known as “Terms of Settlement” or a “Deed of Release”. This document will formalize in writing, the agreement between the parties, stipulating that without any admission of guilt or fault, the parties have reached an agreement. These documents often contain clauses that are beneficial and imperative to an employee, such as confidentially, non-disparagement and release. These clauses serve to ensure that both parties agree to keep the matter confidential (meaning that the employment, dismissal and Fair Work Commission proceedings are all confidential), neither party is to make disparaging comments about each other to anybody and both parties agree that they will not make any future claims or actions against each other. In the event that there are allegations of misconduct or animosity between the parties, a document of this type will prove to be beneficial to both parties and provide the legal reassurance needed to move forward.

7. Strive for justice.

If you feel as though your employer has dismissed you without a good reason or without proper procedure, do not let the employer get away with this unlawful action. Do something about it! Show your employer that they cannot treat employees with such disregard and make them pay for this. Under natural justice principles, every person is entitled to a fair and unbiased investigative procedure before any decision is made to terminate an employee. If an employee is terminated for allegations of misconduct, which they disagree with, the employee can attempt to make an example of the employer’s flawed investigative procedure. Not only will this bring you justice, but it will also bring justice for other employees and future employees by holding the employer accountable. In future, your employer will think twice before terminating an employee.

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A Whole New Approach, we are not lawyers, but the nations leading workplace advisors, I hope this article has been helpful your you. If you have questions about your workplace rights, give us a call. The reasons why you should lodge an unfair dismissal claim please call us for free, confidential advice.

Give us a call on 1300 766 700. 

We Work in all states, including Vic, NSW, Qld, Tas, SA, WA

By Gary Pinchen.