What Rights Do You Have If You’re Suddenly Made Unemployed

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In today’s economy, job security can be fleeting and job loss can occur for a number of reasons. Therefore, employees must understand what steps to immediately take following termination from their employment and know their rights if they’re suddenly unemployed.

We list the 5 factors below:


• Notice must be given to a terminated employee. It applies to those part of a full-time or part-time contract, not casual employees. Notice can be legally given in one of the three following ways:
1. In person
2. Personally delivering it to the last known address of the employee
3. Delivering it by pre-paid postal service to the last known address of the employee

• The amount of notice that an employee is entitled to is based upon the number of years of service to the employer. If an employee has been with an employer for less than one full year, notice must be given one week prior to termination. If an employee has been with an employer for more than 5 years, the period of notice is extended to four weeks.

• Age is also a factor in giving notice. If an employee is over the age of 45, then notice is extended by one week, but only if they have been employed with the same employer for 2 years or more.

• Executives can be entitled to additional notice of termination; up to one to three months.


• Redundancy occurs if an employer eliminates a job because the job is no longer necessary, or if the employer is facing bankruptcy. Under these circumstances an employee might be eligible for redundancy pay. If an employee has worked for an employer for one continuous year and that employer has more than 15 employees, the employee might be eligible for a severance package that includes additional salary payments. Redundancy pay is not paid out in the instances of less than one year of service, misconduct, or if the employee is considered causal or a trainee or an apprentice.


• An employee can make a claim for unfair dismissal if they believe that they were dismissed for harsh, unfair or unreasonable reasons. Unfair dismissal laws pertain to employees who earn less than $123,000.00 per year. Before an employer can dismiss an employee they must have a reason related to the employee’s conduct, capacity or a true redundancy. If the reason is not based in redundancy, then the employer will probably need to show that the employee was given adequate warnings and that the conduct or poor job performance has been documented repeatedly.


• The issue of termination as a result of discrimination against an employee is covered by several separate acts. If an employee believes they have been terminated as a result of discrimination, they should refer to the following acts for information particular to their claim
1) The Age Discrimination Act 2004
2) The Sex Discrimination Act 1984
3) The Disability Discrimination Act 1992
4) The Racial Discrimination Act 1985
5) The Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986

• Under general protections the Fair Work Ombudsmen Act protects an employee’s workplace rights. If an employee exercises a workplace right, they cannot be terminated for their action. Workplace rights that cannot be the basis for termination includes, but is not limited to; filing a work related complaint, participating in a work related process or proceeding, or making a workplace inquiry etc. If an employee is terminated as a result of exercising their general protection rights, such termination can be deemed unlawful.

If you find yourself in a position of having lost your employment, it is imperative that you examine the reasoning behind your termination. If you believe your termination was unfair or discriminatory in nature, it is in your best interests to seek legal assistance for possible reinstatement, penalties and awards.
In the event that you are faced with these particular issues and concerns, please contact the offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers.

At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.

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