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Employers Face Substantial Increase In Termination Claims

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By Renee Karakinos, Lawyer, MST Lawyers

In the financial year 2018/2019, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) saw a substantial increase in the number of general protections (adverse action) claims made by employees.  More than 5,600 general protections claims were instigated by employees. The FWC also received almost 14,000 unfair dismissal applications.

With respect to general protections (uncapped compensation) claims, 4,508 applications were made under section 365 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Act) (general protections applications involving dismissal) to the FWC, which is a 9% increase from the previous financial year.

Of the 4,508 applications under section 365 of the Act, the FWC:

  1. finalised 4,330 applications;
  2. issued 1,128 (26%) certificates to employees stating that all reasonable attempts have been made to resolve the dispute (and for employees to proceed their matter to the Federal Circuit Court);
  3. settled 2,502, matters with 1,900 involving monetary settlements;
  4. settled 11 matters for payments to former employees for amounts exceeding $100,000; and
  5. settled 32 matters for payments to former employees for amounts between $50,000 and $99,999.

Furthermore, general protections applications not involving dismissal (section 372 of the Act) increased by 11% to 1,005. This is after a 9% increase in the year 2017-2018.

With respect to unfair dismissal claims (capped at six months’ pay of either the employee’s actual remuneration or the annual high-income threshold), the FWC:

  1. received almost 14,000 applications;
  2. finalised 13,422 matters; and
  3. arbitrated on 229 matters.

With this in mind, it is therefore critically important for business owners, employers and employees to understand their rights and obligations surrounding termination of employment under the Act.  For more information regarding termination claims that can be made by employees, click here to access an article prepared by MST Lawyers.

If you have any questions, please contact the MST Lawyers’ Employment Law team by email or call +61 3 8540 0229.