Dismissal - General Information

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The information on this page applies only to employers and employees in the WA state industrial relations system. The state system covers businesses which operate as sole traders, unincorporated partnerships, unincorporated trust arrangements as well as any incorporated associations or not for profit bodies that are not trading or financial corporations. The Guide to who is in the WA State System has more detail.

This information does not apply to any business which operates as a Pty Ltd business and is a trading or financial corporation nor to any incorporated association or not for profit body that is a trading or financial corporation. These businesses and organisations are in the national fair work system and should visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for information on employment laws.

Under State laws, employees cannot be dismissed if to do so would be harsh, unfair or oppressive.  There must be a valid and fair reason for dismissal, such as:

  • consistent unsatisfactory work performance (which has been raised with the employee and the employee given further training and an opportunity to improve their work performance)
  • inappropriate behaviour or actions
  • serious misconduct.

Serious misconduct can include:

  • causing a serious and imminent safety risk
  • being under the influence of alcohol or drugs at work
  • assaulting a workmate
  • theft or fraud
  • damaging the reputation or profitability of the business
  • refusing to carry out a lawful or reasonable instruction.

Under federal laws, it is unlawful to terminate an employee on certain specified grounds such as race, colour, sex, sexual preference, age, family or carer’s responsibilities and temporary absence from work due to illness or injury.  For the full details of the grounds for which it is unlawful to terminate an employee, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website at www.fairwork.gov.au

When an employee is dismissed, the following requirements must be met:

  • provide the required notice period
  • pay out unpaid wages, accrued annual leave and any entitlement to long service leave
  • provide a separation certificate if the employee requests it (a written statement stating the period of employment and type of job or work performed)

Unfair dismissal claims

If an employee believes they have been unfairly dismissed, they can make a claim for unfair dismissal with the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission. An application must be made to the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission within 28 days from the date of dismissal and the former employee is required to provide a copy of the application to the employer. Late claims are accepted in some very limited circumstances, such as where the employee can show valid reasons for not being able to meet the 28 day requirement.

For information on making or responding to an unfair dismissal claim, visit the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission website  www.wairc.wa.gov.au

Record keeping

All state system employers are legally required to keep employment records that detail time worked, leave taken and pay received by employees.

Learn more on the record keeping requirements page

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