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The differences between an unfair dismissal and an unlawful dismissal are significant.

Unlawful requires an additional element to be involved in the dismissal, for example, discrimination (sacking someone based on their sex, race, gender, sexuality, religion, pregnancy status etc), or contravening a general protections provision, (like sacking someone for making a complaint about their working conditions).

Not many employers are likely to blatantly say, “You have come back from maternity leave and because we can’t rely on you, we have made the decision to let you go”, however returning mothers are well over-represented in dismissals.

While cases of unlawful dismissal based on discrimination can be hard to prove, the consequences for employers and their decision makers are extremely serious and include uncapped remedies and potential fines.

Unlawful dismissals can also happen during the probationary period and are not limited to salary.

While there are many examples of unlawful dismissal, health, parental leave, religious faith, family responsibilities and political association feature in many cases that appear before the Federal Circuit Court and the Federal Court.

Time frames are critically important around dismissals, so you need to call and get advice now, whether you are planning on making a claim, or have to respond to a claim alleging unlawful dismissal.

We are open from 8am to 6pm (Queensland time) Monday to Friday, but will make appointments after hours, as well as by arrangement.

Please call Industrial Relations Claims on

1300 853 837


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