Losing your job is difficult. It is often unexpected and has the ability to not only affect you, but your family.
Even though it may be difficult, we recommend that you stay positive. Things may be difficult at the time of dismissal but, in time, you will move past it. For many of our clients who have been terminated unlawfully, making a claim helps by:
- standing up to the employer;
- getting closure;
- moving on with life;
- Obtaining financial compensation.
Here are our tips on what to do if you’ve been dismissed from your job.
Act quickly – you only have 21 days.
You only have 21 days from the date that the dismissal took effect to lodge a claim. The 21 days starts counting from your last day at work. If you don’t file your claim within this time-period, then it is difficult to pursue your claim. Essentially, if you don’t file within time, unless there are exceptional reasons, you will likely not be able to continue with your claim even though the dismissal was unlawful.
We recommend you contact our office and have a free discussion about your circumstances. There is no obligation to engage us and we’re simply happy to provide you with some assistance in this difficult time.
Get the right advice.
Again, we can assist you by providing you with a free discussion by phone to determine whether your claim has merit. If, during our discussion, it appears your claim has merit, we are able to offer a low-cost case assessment (if you qualify) to discuss:
- the details of your dismissal;
- advise you on your rights;
- advise you on the amount of compensation you can obtain.
We keep the price of this meeting low to make it affordable for employees to find out their legal rights and to obtain reliable legal advice.
Act reasonably if you’re working out your notice period.
If your employment has been terminated and you are required to work-out your notice period, then it is important to not do anything which may justify your employer terminating your employment before the end of the notice period.
While you’re working out your notice, you are still employed and still bound by the ordinary duties of employment. If you are working your notice, remember that the 21 days starts counting after you have worked out your notice period.
If you can, collect relevant evidence related to your dismissal as this may assist you if you lodge a claim. When doing this, there are some things to bear in mind:
- Only obtain evidence which you are entitled to access. Do not access any information which you are expressly restricted from accessing.
- It is generally illegal to record a private conversation without the other person’s permission (such as on your phone). While there are some exceptions to recording a private conversation, it is best not to record a private conversation without obtaining legal advice first. Instead, take notes of the meeting. You can rely on your notes as evidence if you lodge a claim.
- Any other information lawfully obtained (e.g. information you have access to) can be used as evidence.
Ask for a support person if needed
An employee is entitled to a support person when attending any meetings relating to a possible dismissal of employment. Your employer is not required to offer you a support person, but you are allowed to have a support person present if you request one. Your employer cannot refuse a support person attending, unless such refusal is reasonable in the circumstances.
Don’t sign any documents.
If your employment is terminated, you are not required to sign any documents.
Sometimes, employers may be cunning and ask employees to sign a settlement agreement. If you sign a settlement agreement, you may forego all your legal rights and you may contract out of the ability to lodge a claim if your dismissal is unlawful.
We recommend that you never sign any settlement agreement and get advice before signing any such documents.
Check your final pay.
Check your final pay to make sure you have been paid correctly. Read our page on notice and final pay for information to determine if you have been paid correctly.
You are generally entitled to be paid your accrued annual leave. Sick leave is not normally paid-out at termination (unless there is an express term in your employment contract allowing this).
If you are made redundant, you may be entitled to redundancy pay, see redundancy pay for more information.
You may also be entitled to a pro-rata long service leave payment if you have been employed for more than 7 years.
You also are entitled to be paid your accrued wages/salary up until the termination date.
You should also check whether you have been paid the correct notice. Remember, if you are over 45 years old and you have worked for more than 2 years, you may be entitled to an additional week of notice.