When an employer responds to a claim for unfair dismissal, they may object. If the reason for the objection is ‘jurisdictional’, we may hold a special hearing.
We assess whether claims for unfair dismissal are within our powers, or ‘jurisdiction’.
An employer may object to the application if they believe the Commission does not have the power to deal it. This is a jurisdictional objection.
Late applications in unfair dismissal cases
This animation explains that late applications are generally not accepted. We consider these applications 'out of time'. People can ask for an extension of time. However, a Commission Member will only grant an extension of time in exceptional circumstances. You can also raise an objection if the application is lodged late.
When a hearing takes place
The reason for the objection affects when we hold the jurisdictional hearing.
If the objection is for a late ('out of time') application, the hearing is before the voluntary conciliation.
We usually hear other objections after the conciliation (if both sides agree to take part). Learn more about the conciliation process in our online learning portal. See Preparing for an unfair dismissal conciliation.
If the parties decide not to take part in conciliation, the case continues to the main hearing.
The Commission Member deals with most jurisdictional objections during the main hearing. Sometimes there is a separate hearing for objections about:
- the high-income threshold
- the minimum employment period
- a late application (the deadline is 21 days. After this, the application is ‘out of time’).
An employer can ask for the hearing before the conciliation. If that happens, we send details of the hearing to the employee and employer. We also tell them what evidence they need to submit to us before the hearing.
What happens in the hearing
The employer may need to explain why they object. The Commission Member may ask for evidence to prove what they say.
If the Member agrees that the objection is valid, they dismiss the application. The employee can choose to appeal the decision.
If the objection is not successful, the application will continue.
What is a jurisdictional hearing?
How employers can lodge a jurisdictional objection and how employees can respond.