It’s normal to feel a bit panicked when you are unduly sacked from your job – whether you enjoy your work or not it’s still a stressful situation. You will probably have countless questions about whether the firing was fair, how much notice you are entitled to, and what you should do if things don’t seem legitimate. This article should help answer your queries, and give some much needed expert advice that will help you feel less stressed, and a bit more prepared in this difficult situation.
Have You Been Unfairly Sacked?
If you have done something that is illegal while at work, or you have been violent, then this sort of serious misconduct can be a justifiable reason for your termination.
When a company is experiencing genuine financial struggles, and they no longer need anyone to complete the work you are doing, then this is a fair reason to fire you.
- Bad performance:
If you have been continually underperforming at work, even though the employer has given you clear warnings, and offered training, then they are within their rights to fire you.
Common Unfair Reasons:
- Raising a concern about the workplace:
You cannot be fired just because you raise a concern about the workplace – such as about pay or work conditions – or if you report illegal action that is happening in the workplace, or file a harassment complaint.
An employer cannot fire you because of your national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender or race.
- Violation of public policy:
If you take parental or medical leave that is legally allowed, then your employer cannot use that as a reason to fire you.
- If your employer goes against a contract:
When you are fired, check your employment contract – if your employer has breached the terms of the contract then it’s an unfair dismissal.
Important Things to Understand:
What Is the Minimum Notice Period?
The minimum amount of notice that your employer must legally give you depends on how long you have been in your job. It also can be affected by the type of employee you are, for example, if you are a casual employee then your boss doesn’t have to give you any notice at all.
Minimum notice periods based on length of employment:
- One year or less: one week
- Three years or less – but more than one year: two weeks
- Five years or less – but more than three years: three weeks
- Over five years: four weeks
It’s also worth noting that if you are over 45 years old and have been at your workplace for more than two years, then you are entitled to an extra week of notice. If you are unsure about how much notice you are entitled to, then you should check your employment contract or enterprise agreement – getting professional advice from a lawyer is also a good idea.
What Does ‘Pay in Lieu’ Mean?
‘Payment in lieu of notice’ refers to when your employer would like you to leave without notice, so they pay you an amount that is equal to the wages you would have received during the required notice period, and then get you to leave immediately. You should receive this payment with your final termination of employment payment, and it should include any overtime, penalty rates, or bonuses that you would have received over this time period.
What Not to Do When You Are Fired:
Even though it can be traumatic when you are fired, it’s important to keep your cool and make sure you don’t do things that could make the situation much worse. If you want to create the best results for yourself, then you need to keep a sound head on your shoulders and plan things properly.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- Try not to storm out
- Don’t badmouth your coworkers
- Make sure you don’t refuse to help with the transition
- Wait until you have cooled off before talking about severance pay or similar
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a reference
- Make sure you find out what the reason was
Do You Need Professional Help – Is It Time to Call a Lawyer?
If you feel that you have been unfairly fired, or that your employer has not followed the necessary steps and given you the notice you deserve, then it might be a good idea to contact an expert employment lawyer in Perth. A professional will be able to assess your particular situation, answer any of your questions, and give specific advice.
It’s important to note that this article is not meant to be used as a replacement for professional legal advice, we advise that you always seek the knowledge of a qualified lawyer as well.