General Protections and Adverse Action
‘General protections’ are designed to provide protection of workplace rights, freedom of association, workplace discrimination and relief for persons who have been discriminated against, victimised, or have experienced other unfair treatment.
As an employer, you must not take 'adverse action' against an employee because they have a workplace right, exercised a workplace right or propose to exercise a workplace right.
Adverse action includes:
- dismissing the employee
- injuring employee
- altering the position of the employee
- discriminating against the employee.
An employee who is seeking a remedy to unlawful termination of their employment – where the reason for termination does not fall under the general protections stream – may be able to claim under the unfair dismissal stream.
The unfair dismissal provisions of the Fair Work Act are based on the notion of a ‘fair go all round’ and are intended to prevent dismissals that:
are ‘harsh, unjust or unreasonable’
do not comply with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code (in the case of an employer who employs fewer than 15 employees)
are not cases of genuine redundancy.