In a conciliation, we help the employer and the employee discuss the issues in their unfair dismissal case. The discussion takes up to 90 minutes and is usually held over the phone.
On this page:
Important to note
The employee and the employer both take part in conciliation.
We provide an independent person to guide you.
The goal is a settlement but you do not have to accept it.
You can bring a legal representative, family member, or friend.
Complete our online learning module to learn more about the conciliation process. See Preparing for an unfair dismissal conciliation.
At the start of the meeting
A conciliator from the Fair Work Commission runs the meeting. They are independent and do not take sides. Find out more about The role of the conciliator.
The conciliator phones the parties and introduces them into a conference call.
The conciliator then calls any representatives if they are not in the room with the employee or employer. This can mean the conference call may have up to 5 people taking part.
The conciliator explains their role and how they will run the meeting.
About the case
The employee and the employer briefly explain their stories. This includes what happened, any relevant facts and what they want as a result.
The conciliator may ask questions or allow the participants to ask questions.
The participants discuss the circumstances of the dismissal and any issues.
The employer and employee can negotiate and explore different settlements. In conciliation, any outcome is possible if both parties agree to it.
This is different from a hearing, where the law controls and limits the outcomes.
The conciliator may want to talk privately with each participant. To do this, they end the call to one or more people and call back later. In these private discussions, each side has the chance to speak about their situation.
The conciliator helps the parties to reach agreement by:
- identifying common ground
- suggesting options
- helping the parties draft an agreement in writing.
Private discussions can continue for some time. The conciliator shares the proposals and counter-proposals between the two sides.
This may help the parties reach an agreed settlement.
Settlement or next steps
After the private discussions, the conciliator connects everyone to the conference call again. They confirm:
- the details of the settlement, if the parties agreed
- the next steps if the parties did not reach an agreement, which is a formal conference or hearing.