The Fair Work Commission (Commission) is an independent and impartial organisation. The Commission may be able to help you by showing you:
We remain impartial and cannot give you legal advice regarding your case or otherwise.
It is not neccessary for a party to be represented by a lawyer or paid agent when appearing before the Commission, and many parties choose to represent themselves.
There are community legal centres in each state and territory. You can find your nearest community legal centre on the National Association of Community Legal Centres website.
The Workplace Advice Service provides access to free legal assistance to eligible people and some small business employers who need advice about unfair dismissal and other employment-related matters.
The Service is currently available in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.
The Commission can offer applicants and respondents the opportunity to attend Commission proceedings on a Thursday evening and a Saturday for unfair dismissal matters upon request.
You may be eligible to participate in the pilot program if you are:
Prior to the case being listed for conference/hearing, eligible applicants and respondents will be given notice about the option to participate in an out of hours proceeding on:
If you would like more information about the program, please call the Commission on 1300 799 675.
Under the Fair Work Act 2009, the Minister may declare special rules which apply to small businesses in relation to unfair dismissal. These are contained in the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code.
This code applies to all small business employers in the national workplace relations system. It provides that:
Whether or not an employer has followed the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code may be taken into consideration by a Member of the Commission if a matter goes to a hearing. If the employer has followed the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code they will have grounds to object to an unfair dismissal application, and may lodge what is called a jurisdictional objection.
For more information about jurisdictional objections go to What is the process for unfair dismissal claims?
If the matter goes to a hearing the employer will be required to provide evidence that they complied with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code, including evidence that a warning had been given to the employee before their dismissal. Evidence may include a completed checklist, copies of written warning(s), a statement of termination or signed witness statements.
You can read the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code on our website, but we can’t give you advice about how to follow it, or whether or not an employer followed it.
For information about the Code, and to view an accompanying checklist, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.
The Commission will arrange an interpreter for you if needed when you particpate in a conciliation conference, a conference or a hearing before a member.
This is a free service.