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LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself - LawAssist

Going to the Fair Work Commission - General protections dismissal

If you have been dismissed from your job and you think the dismissal was against national laws about general protections in the workplace, there are things you can do. You may be able to make an application to the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) to try and resolve your dispute with your employer.

When you make a general protections dismissal application, the Commission will try and help you settle the dispute with your employer through a conciliation or mediation conference. If you cannot reach an agreement with your employer at the Commission, and you want to continue with your case, you can make an application to the:

  • Commission for an arbitration hearing if you and your employer agree, or
  • Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court.

This section gives you information about making a general protections dismissal application to the Commission and guides you through what happens when you go to the Commission. 

    ​If yo​u want to make a general protections application to the Commission, you m​​ust do so within 21 days of the date you were dismisse​d.

    Alert Icon  You may be able to make a number of different claims against your employer including discrimination, unfair dismissal and, from 1 January 2014, that you were bullied . Before you make any claims, you should get legal advice to help you work out what is the right option for you.

    Case study icon ​Case study - Matelita

    Matelita works for a frozen food company as a Quality Officer. Matelita called her supervisor​​​ last Monday and told him that she was sick and couldn't come to work. Matelita saw a doctor and got a medical certificate for the week.

    On Tuesday she called her supervisor and told him she was still sick and would be off for the rest of the week. Her manager told her if s​​he did not come to work the next day, she shouldn't bother coming in at all.

    Matelita returned to work the following week. Her supervisor told her that she had no​t been performing and that her employment would be terminated.

    Matelita has decided to make a general protections dismissal application to the Commission.

    ​Making an application

    To make an application to the Commission you need to fill in a form and submit it with the application fee (or an application to waive (cancel) the fee if you cannot afford it).

    If you want to make a general protections application to the Commission, you must do so within 21 days of the date you were dismissed.

    For more information, see Making an application.

    For a tool that you can use to help you work out if you can apply, see Checklist: Making a general protections dismissal application.

    Conciliation

    After the Commission gets an application, it will arrange a private conference with you and your employer to try and settle the dispute without having a hearing.

    The private conference may be a mediation or conciliation. This is where the Commission member helps you and your employer talk and try to come to an agreement.

    You should prepare for the mediation or conciliation so that you get the most out of it.

    For more information, see Conciliation.

    After conciliation

    If you and your employer resolve the dispute, you may be asked to sign a settlement agreement.

    If you and your employer can't come to an agreement, the Commission must issue you with a certificate. The certificate is proof that you went to the mediation or conciliation conference and confirms that you were not able to settle the case.

    For more information, see After conciliation.

    Arbitration hearing

    If you have a certificate from the Commission, and you want to continue your case it is possible to make an application to the:

    • Commission for an arbitration hearing if you and your employer agree, or
    • Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court to start a court case.

    Alert IconYou must apply to the Commission or the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court within 14 days of the Commission issuing the certificate.

    For more information about:

    For answers to commonly asked questions, see Going to the Fair Work Commission - Frequently Asked Questions.
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