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The Fair Work Commission can only conduct arbitration in a general protections dismissal case if you and your employer agree.
Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution like a hearing. In arbitration a member of the Fair Work Commission hears evidence from you and your employer, and makes a decision about your case.
If you cannot come to an agreement at conciliation, you and your employer can agree to have the matter decided by arbitration at the Fair Work Commission. A date for arbitration will be set on a different day, possibly several months after the conciliation has taken place.
If the decision of the Commission involves the payment of money to you and your employer does not pay you, you can apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia to enforce the order. The Commission cannot enforce the order to pay.
Your employer may object to your application because:
If your employer objects to your application, you should get
At arbitration, you will be given a chance to present your evidence (including any witnesses) as will your employer. After this, a member of the Commission will make a decision in your case and make orders about whether your dismissal was in breach of a general protection (and what should be done if you were). The orders made could include:
The Commission will not make orders that the employer write you a reference or pay you other amounts of money they owe you (like unpaid wages or entitlements). Orders are only about your dismissal. You would have to start a case in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia to get orders about unpaid wages.
Before arbitration you should start preparing your case. The Commission will send you:
These instructions are called 'directions'.
For more information, see
Directions and Step by step guide: Preparing for arbitration.
Before you go to arbitration, you need to understand how it works and plan how you are going to present your case.
For more information, see Step by step guide: Presenting your case at arbitration.
For answers to commonly asked questions, see
Going to the Fair Work Commission - Frequently Asked Questions.