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How much time do you have to lodge an unfair dismissal claim?

One of the most common questions we are asked is “how much time do I have to lodge a claim for unfair dismissal?”  The answer is very clearly defined that your claim MUST BE FILED within 21 DAYS of the termination of your employment, which is just 3 weeks!.

Your claim must contain sufficient information for it to be accepted as a valid claim. You will need to think about whether the dismissal was unfair and what evidence you have to support this. An unfair dismissal is defined as being when the dismissal is ‘harsh, unjust or unreasonable’. In determining if this has been the case, you need to look at:

  • whether there was a valid reason for the termination;
  • whether you were notified of that reason and given an opportunity to respond;
  • if the termination related to unsatisfactory performance, whether you had previously been warned about that unsatisfactory performance;
  • the degree to which the size of the employer’s business, or the absence of dedicated human resource management specialists, may have had an impact on the termination procedures;
  • any other matters the Industrial Relations Commission may consider relevant.

The Industrial Relations Commission may consider a number of relevant and mitigating factors and early advice and action is essential.

The cost to file an unfair dismissal claim in the Industrial Relations Commission is $57.30. This is a charge that must be paid to the Commission to start the unfair dismissal action. This fee may change from time to time.

The unfair dismissal claim process begins with the filing of the claim. The employer has a very short period of time to respond to the claim. It is very important that the claim is filed within 21 days of the termination being effected because if it is not filed within that period of time you are at risk of the claim being dismissed.

After the employer’s response is filed a conciliation conference will be held. This conference may be two to three weeks after the employer’s response is filed. Conciliation is an opportunity for each party to have their say, to put their position forward and to try to come to a solution, a resolution of the matter. If it does not settle at the conciliation conference then the claim will proceed to arbitration before an Industrial Relations Commissioner.

The entire process is very quick with most matters being finalised within approximately three months.

If you would like assistance in relation to an unfair dismissal claim, we can help you assess your rights and assist you through the process. We work on a no win/no fee basis for unfair dismissal claims so contact us today for a no obligation consultation.