In order to make a claim for unfair dismissal, an employee (not an independent contractor) must have been dismissed, not resigned, and must meet the minimum employment period.
Strict time limits apply
Strict time limits apply and a claim must be lodged to the Fair Work Commission within 21 days from the date of dismissal. Extensions can be granted in limited circumstances. For a small business employer with fewer than 15 employees, an employee must have worked for a continuous period of 12 months. For an employer with 15 or more employees, the minimum employment period is six months.
Once a claim has been lodged, the employer must lodge a response and serve this on the Applicant and a conciliation conference is set down with an independent conciliator from the Fair Work Commission. Both parties are required to attend and the conciliation can be held over the telephone. This conciliation gives the parties the opportunity to discuss the issues in dispute and hopefully resolve the matter. If the matter is not resolved, the Applicant can have the matter set down for a formal hearing at the Fair Work Commission.
The remedies for unfair dismissal include reinstatement and/or compensation for lost wages. The maximum amount of compensation is six month's wages.