Help from the Fair Work Commission

If you think you've been dismissed for an unlawful reason, you can apply to the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) for help. You can lodge your forms at our offices.

The application process is different depending on whether you’re in the national workplace relations system or not.

Making an application

Most Australian employees are in the national workplace relations system. If you’re a national system employee you need to lodge your application under the Fair Work Act’s general protections provisions.

You have to lodge your application within 21 days after the dismissal took effect. The Commission may accept late applications in limited circumstances.

Non-national system employees

Some employees are still covered by state laws workplace relations laws. This includes employees working for non-constitutional corporations in Western Australia (including partnerships and sole traders).

If you’re not a national system employee you need to lodge your application under the Fair Work Act’s unlawful termination provisions.

You have to lodge your application within 21 days after the dismissal took effect, although the Commission may accept late applications in limited circumstances.

Application fees

When you lodge an unlawful termination application you’ll need to pay an application fee. This fee may be waived on the grounds that its payment would cause serious hardship.

After you apply

After you apply to the Commission:

  1. The Commission has a private conference with you and the other party. 
  2. If the Commission finds that all reasonable attempts to fix the matter were, or are unlikely to be unsuccessful, they issue a certificate.
  3. If both parties agree the Commission can arbitrate the matter, otherwise you can use the certificate to apply to court to resolve the matter. This must be done within 14 days from the date the certificate is issued.

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Page last updated: 20 Feb 2014