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Unfair Dismissal advice?

By Wyvernsridge - 21 July 2010 9

One of my kids has just been sacked by the legal firm where they worked as a part time assistant. No explanation was given for the termination, and only one week paid in lieu of notice.

What’s the feeling among the Riotacters? Is this something worth taking up to the FairWork Commission?

What’s Your opinion?


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9 Responses to
Unfair Dismissal advice?
bergamot 2:05 pm 21 Jul 10

Spectra said :

What did your kid sign? They are a law firm, hopefully they would have got him to sign something credible.

Law firms are the ones that draw up the ridiculous, unenforceable contracts that are prevalent in many other work places, such as the lovely “non-compete” clauses and ones that say you can’t accrue more than a certain amount of leave (yes, they can enforce the latter by making you take leave, but many organisations think they can just make your leave magically disappear entirely). What makes you think the contracts they draw up for their own employees would be any better?

We can terminate people on one week notice for no reason too, and either ask them to work the week, or pay them out the week.

That depends on the terms (full time/part time/casual) and duration of their employment. For full time employees, the minimum notice period is a function of their period of employment. Also, if it’s purely a “we no longer have work for you” issue, then there are also minimum redundancy payouts.

Spectra… I sack people almost weekly and haven’t had any justified complaints so far so I am pretty sure we’re fine… as per our IR advisor’s advice.

Lazy I 1:28 pm 21 Jul 10

If you can’t get on to Fair Work Australia, give Domino’s a call.

colourful sydney rac 12:31 pm 21 Jul 10

most importantly you only have 14 days to lodge unfair dismissal paper work with Fair Work Australia – get on it.

troll-sniffer 10:48 am 21 Jul 10

Unless your winky was covered under a certified agreement or other industrial contract, it’s likely the Clerks Award ACT applies. Termination payments are as follows:

13. TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT

[13 substituted by PR949360 ppc 29Jun04]

13.1 Notice of termination by employer

13.1.1 In order to terminate the employment of an employee the employer will give to the employee the period of notice specified in the table below:

Period of continuous service Period of notice

1 year or less = 1 week
Over 1 year and up to the completion of 3 years = 2 weeks
Over 3 years and up to the completion of 5 years = 3 weeks
Over 5 years of completed service = 4 weeks

In addition any unused annual leave is payable. It’s unlikely the firm has let go an employee who was supplying stellar service so I would be a little reticent to blame the law firm before investigating the work performance of the winky involved. A firm, as an employer, paying out their money to an employee for services rendered, has responsibilities but is also not obliged to keep someone on if there’s an attitude problem, a work ethic problem, or even a personality clash, especially if the employee has worked there for less than a year.

By all means contact the FWO and discuss the matter but also be aware that unless a breach of industrial law has occurred nothing will come of it.

neanderthalsis 10:31 am 21 Jul 10

I’m presuming that it is a small law firm with less than 15 FTE employees and not somewhere like Minter Ellison. For a starting point, check the unfair dismissal laws for small business. Generally speaking, they must have some grounds for dismissal, I presume the child in question is relatively young, 15/16 or so, ask kidlet in question if there was an issue as it maybe the case that you’re not getting the full story. If no reason is forthcoming, ring the employer and ask the reason for dismissal.

Also note that a small businesses have a minimum employment period of 12 months instead of 6 months for unfair dismissal claims (employees can’t make an unfair dismissal claim if dismissed in this first 12-month period)

Spectra 10:04 am 21 Jul 10

What did your kid sign? They are a law firm, hopefully they would have got him to sign something credible.

Law firms are the ones that draw up the ridiculous, unenforceable contracts that are prevalent in many other work places, such as the lovely “non-compete” clauses and ones that say you can’t accrue more than a certain amount of leave (yes, they can enforce the latter by making you take leave, but many organisations think they can just make your leave magically disappear entirely). What makes you think the contracts they draw up for their own employees would be any better?

We can terminate people on one week notice for no reason too, and either ask them to work the week, or pay them out the week.

That depends on the terms (full time/part time/casual) and duration of their employment. For full time employees, the minimum notice period is a function of their period of employment. Also, if it’s purely a “we no longer have work for you” issue, then there are also minimum redundancy payouts.

bergamot 9:48 am 21 Jul 10

What did your kid sign? They are a law firm, hopefully they would have got him to sign something credible. We can terminate people on one week notice for no reason too, and either ask them to work the week, or pay them out the week.

djk 9:36 am 21 Jul 10

It certainly can’t hurt to speak to someone in the know about it, but I would think a law firm is probably pretty aware of what is legally required of them in these sorts of cases.

Genie 9:27 am 21 Jul 10

A 5-10 minute phone call to them will surely answer your question.

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