The Fair Work Commission can only deal with unfair dismissal applications that fall within its powers, also known as its 'jurisdiction'.
If an employer believes that the Commission does not have jurisdiction to deal with the unfair dismissal application, or the person is not eligible to make the application, then the employer can lodge an objection.
The standard Form F3 for an employer’s response to an unfair dismissal application at paragraph 2.1 asks whether the employer has ‘any jurisdictional or other objections to the application’ [emphasis added], and objections identified under this part of the form have often been referred to as ‘jurisdictional objections’.
An objection can be lodged by an employer if the applicant:
By lodging an objection the employer is saying that the Commission does not have the power to deal with the claim.
An objection to an unfair dismissal application can also be raised after lodging the Form F3 employer’s response by completing a Form F4 – Objection to application for unfair dismissal remedy.
Making an objection will NOT stop an unfair dismissal application.
Objections must be determined by the Commission. This is done by a member holding a conference or hearing and making a formal decision. An employer may be required to provide evidence and/or submissions with regard to its objections.
All forms are available on the Forms page of the Commission's website.
Section 396 of the Fair Work Act 2009 requires that certain matters, including whether the dismissal was a case of genuine redundancy, be determined before considering the merits of the application. The requirement to decide issues in a certain order of priority does not mean they need to be the subject of a separate, preliminary hearing, and not all the ‘initial matters’ identified in s.396 are jurisdictional matters. Determining whether a dismissal is a genuine redundancy (as defined) precedes and may remove the need to determine other questions (or the ‘merits’ of the application).
Where the Commission holds a conference or hearing to determine the jurisdictional objection first, and the objection is dismissed, the Commission will determine the merits of the unfair dismissal application at a separate hearing or conference. If the Commission decides that the employer's jurisdictional objection is valid, the unfair dismissal application will be dismissed and no further action will be taken.
A jurisdictional objection and the merits of an unfair dismissal application may be heard together where the nature of the evidence that would be considered by a Commission with regard to both is likely to be the same. The Commission will determine whether the jurisdictional objection is valid, and if not, proceed to determine whether the dismissal was unfair. If the jurisdictional objection is valid, the employee's unfair dismissal application will be dismissed.
Where an objection is raised and the matter is listed for conciliation, Commission staff will contact the respondent to confirm their willingness to participate in the conciliation. Raising an objection does not mean an application will automatically be sent for hearing to determine the validity of the objection raised.
Conciliators will seek to assist parties resolve matters even where there has been one or more objection raised. A conciliator may use any objection to help ‘reality test’ parties as part of the conciliation process.
 McKerlie v RateIt Australia Pty Ltd t/a RateIt  FWCFB 5131 (Hatcher VP, Anderson DP, Johns C, 24 September 2020) at para. 59.
 To file a Form F4 the employer must also complete a Form F3 – Employer response to unfair dismissal application. If an employer has set out their objection in their completed Form F3, they do not need to complete Form F4.
 McKerlie v RateIt Australia Pty Ltd t/a RateIt  FWCFB 5131 (Hatcher VP, Anderson DP, Johns C, 24 September 2020) at para. 58.