In a bid to clarify the rules around what does and does not constitute unfair dismissal, the Fair Work Commission has released a guidebook it hopes will ease the complexities of this often-feared legislation.
Unfair dismissal is a common fear of employers when letting go of employees, given not only the potential penalties if found guilty, but also the time and legal costs of defending any action brought against the business.
In October 2017, one workplace advisory firm suggested that employers are collectively facing 1.5 unfair dismissal claims every hour.
In a bid to demystify the process and provide clarity on what unfair dismissal actually entails, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has put together the Unfair Dismissals Benchbook.
According to the FWC, the guide assists parties who are both lodging or defending an unfair dismissal claim to know where they stand and how previous judgements have interpreted the law.
“It contains plain English summaries of the key principles of unfair dismissal case law, and examples of how these have been applied in Commission decisions,” the commission said.
As part of the benchbook, dismissal is defined as “a person’s employment has been terminated at the employer’s initiative or a person was forced to resign because of the conduct or course of conduct engaged in by the employer”.
Furthermore, it provides an overview of how a dismissal is deemed unfair – which means that it is in some way harsh, unreasonable or unjust.
Other useful information found within the guide are an overview of who is covered by unfair dismissal protections, the application and judgement process, and the remedies that can be ordered by the commission.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.