What Constitutes Wrongful Dismissal in Australia?

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What Constitutes Wrongful Dismissal in Australia?

Getting laid off is never an experience that anyone wants to experience. Losing your job; can have an immense impact on the quality of life you experience, your finances and your overall mental health. This negative experience can be worsened when you feel like you have been wrongfully dismissed. If you find yourself a victim of wrongful termination, this may be exactly the article you’ve been searching for. Today, we have a look at what constitutes wrongful dismissal in Australia; in a bid to assist you in identifying if you are eligible for compensation. Read on to find out more! What constitutes wrongful dismissal in Australia?

Defining Wrongful Dismissal

In order to fully understand; if you find yourself in such a predicament; it is important that we thoroughly go through the actual definition of wrongful dismissal. Wrongful dismissal is; when an employee of a business or company gets terminated in violation of federal, state or local laws. It is important to keep in mind that wrongful dismissal in Melbourne may differ in its definition to that of another state, so brushing up on your local laws is imperative. 

Wrongful dismissal also covers the violation of employment contracts and agreements at the time of termination. Here are some examples of unfair dismissal for you to look through: 

Breach of Employment Contractor Agreement 

In Australia, employment contracts are used in labour law to attribute rights and responsibilities between parties to a bargain. Your employment contract can be verbal or written. It will include information about the terms and conditions of your employment. If an employee has been terminated for reasons that violate their employment contract or agreement, this constitutes as; wrongful dismissal. 

As each employment contract is unique to an individual’s job title and situation. It is important you closely study your contract if you wish to determine if your termination is in violation of your agreement.  

Discrimination Based Termination

Discrimination in the workplace refers to unfair treatment based on an individual’s race, gender, religion, or disability. By law, it is illegal for a business to use any of these reasons as grounds to dismiss an employee. If this is the case, you may very well find yourself in the midst of wrongful dismissal. Discrimination is not taken lightly by federal law and is considered a very serious violation which will be investigated thoroughly. 


Harassment in the form of sexual harassment, offensive remarks, behaviour and bullying in the workplace cannot be cited as a reason for termination if you are on the receiving end of said harassment. If you have been harassed due to your gender, age, sexual orientation, race or religion; which has then led to termination; you may have grounds for filing for unfair dismissal against your employer. 


Last, another component of wrongful dismissal is; retaliation. Employers are prohibited from punishing employees for their participation in reporting unlawful activities within the business. In such a case where an employee has been a “whistleblower”; an employer has no right to retaliate by terminating them. If an employee is terminated in retaliation; he or she may have a strong case against their employer for wrongful dismissal. 

Action Steps 

If you find yourself a victim of wrongful dismissal, it is important that you contact a lawyer and apply for wrongful dismissal with the Fair Work Commission. Do note that there is a time limit of 21 days from the date of termination that you will have to abide by, so act sooner rather than later. 

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