Unfair dismissal; am I eligible to apply?


The national fair work system entitles the vast majority of Australian employees to be protected from unfair dismissal.

There are five qualifying criteria, called jurisdictional elements by lawyers.

They are

  1. You must have been dismissed or constructively dismissed.
  2. You must have been employed by a “national system employer” which essentially means a company (not sole trader) which engages in trade and commerce or a federal government institution.
  3. Your annual remuneration, more properly your “annual rate of earnings”, must be less than the “high income threshold”, currently $138,900 (this sum increases on 1 July each year) OR you must have been employed under an enterprise agreement.
  4. You must have been employed for at least the minimum qualifying period which is 12 months for employees of small business employers or 12 months for non-small business employers.
  5. You must make an application for an unfair dismissal remedy to the Fair Work Commission within 21 days of the dismissal (or such further time as may be granted; something which is difficult to obtain).

*Of course should take professional legal advice as soon as you can after a dismissal because the above basic qualifications each have various layers of legal complexity.