There are different types of dismissal, depending on the situation. If you are not sure which is relevant to your situation, check before you apply.
When your employment ends, you may be eligible to apply for one of the 3 options in the Fair Work Act:
- Unfair dismissal
- General protections dismissal
- Unlawful termination
You can only apply for one option. Read the information on this site carefully to see if you qualify. You may also be able to access free legal help.
1. Unfair dismissal
This option is only for:
- employees who have worked for 6 months in a large business or 12 months in a small business. This is the minimum employment period.
- employees who have lost their job. You cannot apply before your employer dismisses you.
- employees who are part of the national system. Examples of people who are not part of the national system are sole traders, contractors, people who work through an agency, or some government employees.
In some cases, if your employer made you redundant*, or forced you to resign*, you may also be able to apply.
To understand unfair dismissal and find out if you are eligible, see About unfair dismissal.
2. General protections dismissal
This is different from unfair dismissal. It is not about ‘fairness’, it is about whether the employer broke the general protections laws in the Fair Work Act.
This option is for employees who are dismissed for a prohibited reason under the Fair Work Act. These include:
- workplace rights
- sham contracting
- temporary absence due to illness or injury
- freedom of association.
We explain this in Understand general protections.
3. Unlawful termination
A small number of employees are eligible to apply for unlawful termination. You cannot apply if you are eligible to apply for:
- unfair dismissal OR
- general protections dismissal
The unlawful termination laws in the Fair Work Act cover groups including:
- state government employees in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia
- local government employees in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia
- people employed in Western Australia by non-constitutional corporations, for example, employees of sole traders, partnerships and trusts.
To understand unlawful termination and find out if you are eligible, see About unlawful termination.