If you feel you have been unfairly dismissed, bullied, harassed or even improperly treated as a nurse working in Australia, you have rights and options as an employee to ensure that your employer has followed correct protocol and is acting within the law.
Unfair dismissal: Where an employer does not have a valid reason for dismissing an employee and where the dismissal is found to be harsh, unjust, or unreasonable.
**It is important that you get legal advice as soon as possible about unfair dismissal or unlawful termination laws and other options if you have been dismissed or are about to be dismissed (Time limits apply)**
Under federal laws, it is unlawful to terminate an employee on certain specified grounds such as race, colour, sex, sexual preference, age, family or carer’s responsibilities and temporary absence from work due to illness or injury.
State or National Law?
All private sector employees in Queensland are covered by the Fair Work national workplace relations system.
Employers must provide staff with the minimum entitlements under this system or they could face penalties. There are also minimum employment periods which must be met before employees can apply for unfair dismissal. Employees have to apply to the Commission within 21 days after their dismissal takes effect.
You can take the Fair Work Eligibility quiz to see you qualify to apply for Unfair Dismissal.
Public Employees are covered by state law, not by the national system.
Under State laws, you cannot dismiss an employee if to do so would be harsh, unfair or oppressive. You must have a valid and fair reason for doing so, such as:
- consistent unsatisfactory work performance (which has been raised with the employee and the employee given further training and an opportunity to improve their work performance)
- inappropriate behaviour or actions
- serious misconduct (when an employee causes serious and imminent risk to the health and safety of another person or to the reputation or profits of their employer’s business or deliberately behaves in a way that’s inconsistent with continuing their employment.)
Examples of serious misconduct include:
- causing a serious and imminent safety risk
- being under the influence of alcohol or drugs at work
- assaulting a workmate
- being drunk at work
- theft or fraud
- damaging the reputation or profitability of the business
- refusing to carry out work duties
Initial Points of Contact:
If you are not sure if you are covered by federal or state law, or need further advice you can contact:
- the Fair Work Commission Help Line on 1300 799 675
- the Fair Work Ombudsman Info Line on 13 13 94
- Wageline on 1300 655 266.
- Your nursing union if you are a member
- *Please obtain legal advice early on, as you have a limited time frame to apply
To find out online if you are able to apply for Unfair Dismissal see: Am I Eligible to Apply?