A union is a body that represents the interests of workers in a particular industry or occupation.
All employees and independent contractors are free to choose to join or not join a union.
It's illegal for a person to pressure another person about their choice. For example:
- an employer can't pressure an employee
- a business can't pressure an independent contractor working with them.
It’s also illegal to take or threaten to take adverse action against a person for:
- being or not being a union member or
- taking part or not taking part in industrial activity.
An adverse action against a person includes:
- dismissing them
- changing their role to put them in a worse position
- changing their terms and conditions to put them in a worse position.
Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 s.346(a), 348, 350 and 772
Need help resolving general protections issues?
If you've lost your job, contact the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) first if you think you were sacked because of:
- a reason that is harsh, unjust or unreasonable
- another protected right.
You have 21 days starting from the day after you were dismissed to lodge an application with the Commission. Check the information at the Commission website to find out if you can apply for:
- unfair dismissal (not available if you lost your job because of a genuine Redundancy)
- a general protections dismissal
- unlawful termination.
For other general protections issues:
- consider whether the action taken against you was unlawful after reading the information on this page
- see our Help resolving workplace issues section for practical advice on:
- talking to your employer about fixing the problem
- getting help from us if you still can’t resolve it.
Take general protections issues seriously. Speak with your employee to address the problem after reading the information on this page.
We have resources to help you:
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