When you are the employer in a claim for unfair dismissal, it is important to give us your side of the story. The deadline is 7 days after you receive a copy of the application from us.
What we send you
When an employee puts your name in their application for unfair dismissal, we will send you:
- a copy of their application, which tells you why they think the dismissal was unfair
- a date and time for a conciliation, where you and the employee discuss the issues with help from a Commission staff member.
Why you must respond
You may feel surprised or upset when we contact you about a claim. It is important that you do not ignore the information we send you.
An application for unfair dismissal is a legal process. It means someone who worked for you:
- believes that you or your company ended their employment unfairly
- has started legal action against you because they want a remedy or result from their claim
Even if you believe you have done nothing wrong, respond to the application within 7 days.
There are no fees for lodging a response to an unfair dismissal application.
If you do not respond
You can choose not to respond or take part in the legal process. If you do not participate, we may make a decision against you without hearing from you.
We need your response to help us understand your version of events and to determine how we can best resolve the application.
Legal help and representation
You do not need a lawyer or paid agent to respond to an application. You can decide to represent yourself.
Find out Where to get legal help, including free advice for eligible employers.
The Ombudsman's Small Business Fair Dismissal Code may also help you respond.
How to respond
Read the employee’s application so you understand why they have made a claim. You need to respond to their comments or complaints.
You will need to:
Write the response using Form F3.
Decide if you have a legal reason to challenge (‘object to’) the claim.
Send your response to us and the employee within 7 days.
1. Write the response using our form
The employer, or the person who fills out the response, uses Form F3 – Employer response to unfair dismissal application.
For help to fill out the form see How to complete Form F3. This includes a video for employers and shows an example of a completed form.
The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code can help employers with fewer than 15 employees.
2. Decide if you have a legal reason to object
You may challenge (‘object to’) the application if you think the employee is not eligible to make the claim. You need to tell us the reason you object.
Find out how to Object to an application for unfair dismissal.
If you have no objections, you can submit your response.
3. Respond to us within 7 days
To give us your side of the case, you must reply within 7 days of receiving an application from us.
Include any supporting material, for example:
- warning letters
- performance reviews.
You must also give a copy of your response to the employee. Follow the instructions on Form F3 – Employer response to unfair dismissal application.