The Law Society of NSW Specialist Accredititation 

Unfair and Wrongful Dismissal

Unfair dismissal is not the same thing as Wrongful Dismissal.

Wrongful dismissal occurs when the reason for the dismissal is illegal (for example, if the employee was dismissed for being pregnant or due to their religion etc).

Unfair dismissal on the other hand may occur when only one aspect of the dismissal was unfair. As such, it is possible for an employee to successfully claim unfair dismissal even though the underlying reason for the termination of their employment was appropriate. For example, employees have successfully claimed compensation due to the way they were told about their dismissal.

An employee can lodge a claim for wrongful termination of their employment regardless of how long they have been employed.

However an employee can only lodge a claim for unfair dismissal once they have worked for a certain period of time for the employer and in the case of casual employees, only if there would have been reasonable expectations of the employment continuing. The required length of employment before an unfair dismissal claim can be made is twelve (12) months for small business employers and six (6) months for other employers.

In addition there are very strict time limits for filing such claims.

Employment law is a complex matter and we therefore recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as you become aware that there may be an employment related dispute occurring in your business or at your place of work.