Ordinarily a dismissal does not take effect unless and until it is communicated to the employee who is being dismissed. Burns v Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (Inc) (unreported, AIRCFB, Williams SDP, Acton SDP, Gregory C, 21 November 2000) Print T3496 at . A dismissal can be communicated orally. Plaksa v Rail Corporation NSW (2007) AIRC 333 (unreported, Cartwright SDP, 26 April 2007) at ; citing Barolo v Centra Hotel Melbourne (unreported, AIRC, Whelan C, 10 December 1998) Print Q9605.
In Wilson v Australian Taxation Office  AIRC 163 a Full Bench of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission considered the communication of a dismissal to an employee by letter and concluded (at ) that:
“Whilst it is clear that a contract can be terminated unilaterally, it is beyond contemplation, unless there is special provision in the contract to the contrary, that a contract could be terminated without communication of termination to the other party. We think that at common law, where termination occurs by letter, generally the termination is not effective until the letter is received. There may be a qualification to the general proposition. It may be that, in some circumstances, the termination is effective when its communication could ordinarily be expected to have been received. If an employer has attempted in good faith to communicate the termination and the Commission forms the view that the employee has deliberately avoided receipt of such communication, it may be arguable that in such circumstances termination occurred despite the fact that it has not physically been communicated to the employee.”
Mueller v Mun Australia Pty Limited (2016) FWC 4799 delivered 21 July 2016 per Saunders C