Employees can apply to the Fair Work Commission if they feel they have been unfairly dismissed.  If this happens, you will receive a formal notification from Fair Work asking you for a written response within 5 working days. 


These 3 steps will start to lay the foundation for your response:

1)  Read the employee’s Fair Work application in detail to understand the grounds they are applying on and note the relevant due dates;

2)  Pull up all the records relating to the employee, in particular their dates of employment, mode of employment and any performance records (appraisals, warnings, file notes, diary notes etc) that may relate to the reason for their termination/exit;
3)  Talk confidentially to any relevant parties involved in the employee’s exit (e.g. their Manager, payroll etc) to gather any extra file notes, pay details etc.


Points to Make:

  • If you receive an unfair dismissal claim, it is important to present a strong defence in your initial response. 
  • In most cases, you are aiming to have the matter settled at a conciliation hearing. 
  • The risks are considerable for the employer with possible outcomes being ordered reinstatement of the employee; penalties of up to 6 months wages; or in the case of adverse action related claims, unlimited liability. 


Focus HR can assist you in preparing your response to attain the best possible outcome.  We support you through:
a)  Checking whether the application can be dismissed on the basis of jurisdiction (e.g. they have been employed for less than the qualifying period, they resigned for their own reasons, they were a genuine casual or temporary employee);
b)  Confidentially and objectively investigating any claims raised through the process as required;
c)  Preparing the written response to Fair Work; and
d)  Representing the employer at the conciliation hearing.


This can be a particularly stressful time for business owners and Managers, so for peace of mind that the matter is being dealt with professionally and thoroughly, please contact us.  We will act in your best interests at all times and, where necessary, recommend legal advice for highly complex matters.

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