FAQs about unfair dismissal

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WA image icon  This information is only relevant to employers and employees in the WA state industrial relations system.

Unfair dismissal applications are heard by the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC). The application must be received by the WAIRC within 28 days of the date of dismissal. A copy of the application must also be provided to the employer. 

Late claims are accepted in some very limited circumstances, e.g. if valid reasons for not being able to meet the 28 day requirement can be shown. 

The WAIRC website has information on how to make an application online or via a hard copy form.

Frequently asked questions about unfair dismissal

Can a claim for unfair dismissal be made if the job was not permanent? 

Yes, casual, contract and temporary employees can make an application for unfair dismissal.

Can probationary employees make a claim for unfair dismissal?

When the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission is determining an unfair dismissal claim it will be required to have regard to whether the employee was employed for a probationary period agreed between the employer and employee and had been employed on that basis for a period of less than three months. 

Can employees of household employers claim for unfair dismissal?

Employees employed directly by household employers in a private home are able to make a claim for unfair dismissal.  When the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission is determining an unfair dismissal claim, it is required to have regard to whether an employee was employed in a private home to provide services directly to the employer or a member of the employer’s family or household.

Will the claimant have to go to court?

Many unfair dismissal cases are resolved at a conciliation conference, which involves an Industrial Commissioner or Registrar assisting the employer and employee to reach agreement. If this is not successful, the matter is then listed for a formal hearing.

The WAIRC website provides a guide to unfair dismissal proceedings. 

Can the parties have legal representation?

At the unfair dismissal hearing employers and employees can represent themselves. Parties may also be represented by a lawyer or a registered industrial agent.

Who is responsible for paying legal costs?

Employers and employees are generally responsible for their own legal and other costs in unfair dismissal cases.

Is reinstatement possible?

If the dismissal is found to be unfair, the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission may order the employer to reinstate the employee to their former position or another suitable position. If it is not practical for the employee to go back to work for the same employer, the Commission may order that the employer pays compensation up to a maximum of six months’ pay.

What about lost earnings if reinstatement is ordered?

If some circumstances the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission may order the employer pay the earnings lost by the employee as a result of the unfair dismissal. 

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

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