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After you file a general protections dismissal application at the Fair Work Commission (the Commission), the Commission will arrange a conference with you and your employer to try and settle the dispute. You will be sent a notice of listing with the date, time and location of the conference. The notice will also say whether your conference is face-to-face or on the telephone.
The conference may be a mediation or conciliation. Cases are usually listed for conciliation and the information on this page focuses on this. Mediation and conciliation are very similar and the preparation and process is the same for both.
Conciliation (or mediation) is a way of solving a problem without having a hearing. A member of the Commission usually meets with you and your employer face to face and helps you to talk and come to an agreement. If you can't go the conciliation in person, you may be able to organise to participate by telephone. You should speak to the Commission.
At conciliation, the Commission member may suggest ways that you could settle your dispute with your employer. They may also give you information about any problems or weaknesses in your case. The Commission member can't make a decision or order in a general protections case.
Conciliation is confidential and it is not recorded. This means that anything that is talked about at conciliation should not be discussed with anyone else after the conciliation and cannot be raised at a hearing later on.
You should prepare for the conciliation (or mediation) so that you get the most out of it. Think about what you want out of the conciliation. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to talk about your dispute.
For more information, see Step by step guide: Preparing for conciliation.
This section has information about what happens when you go to the Commission for conciliation (or mediation).
For more information, see Step by step guide: Going to conciliation.
If you and your employer come to an agreement, that will be the end of the case. You may be asked to sign a written record of the agreement.
If you and your employer can't come to an agreement, the Commission will give you a certificate that says that conciliation was unsuccessful. Once you have a certificate, you may be able to apply to the Federal Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
For more information, see