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How to Write an Unfair Dismissal Application

Reading time: 9 mins

Writing an unfair dismissal application isn’t difficult if you know how to. You must clearly outline why you think you have been unfairly dismissed. This should be in line with what the law considers to be unfair termination.

An unfair dismissal application should also be concise. The employee must provide correct information. They should also identify the specific sections of the Fair Work Act 2009 that the employer has broken.

This article explains how to write an unfair dismissal application.

Key takeaways

  • You must lodge an application for unfair dismissal within 21 days of the date of dismissal
  • Take the emotion out and stick to the facts
  • Refer to the relevant sections of the Fair Work Act
  • Support your argument with relevant case law
  • Provide evidence to support your claims

Step One: Download the unfair dismissal application form

An employee will need to download a Form F2 from the Fair Work Commission’s website.

Form F2 is available in both .pdf and .doc format. Employees should use the Word document because it is easier to edit.

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Step Two: Complete the unfair dismissal application form

Writing a legally sound unfair dismissal application is important. To ensure a successful unfair dismissal claim, employees must follow certain steps. For example, an unfair dismissal application must:

  1. answer each of the questions set out in the Form F2 and provide complete and accurate information;
  2. describe the legal basis for the unfair dismissal claim;
  3. describe the facts (including people, dates, places and circumstances) that have led to the unfair dismissal; and
  4. describe what outcome the employee is looking for.

Answer the questions and provide general information

The Form F2 Unfair Dismissal Application requires employees to provide the following information (in addition to their legal argument):

Describe the legal basis

  1. the name and contact details of the applicant (i.e. the employee)
  2. information as to whether the applicant needs an interpreter or is represented
  3. the name and contact details of the respondent (i.e. the employer)
  4. the start date and dismissal date of the applicant’s employment
  5. whether the applicant is submitting the form on time (21 days from the date dismissal took effect)
  6. If the applicant does not submit the form on time, they must provide reasons why the Form F2 should still be accepted
  7. whether another claim relating to the dismissal has been made

Unless an employee is represented by an employment lawyer, this can be the difficult part.

Employment law can be complicated. If you believe you have been unfairly dismissed, you should contact an employment law firm for legal advice.

Having said that, there are a few things that employees can do to describe why the dismissal of their employment was legally unfair.

Here are a few tips for employees filling out an unfair dismissal application:

Refer to relevant sections of the Fair Work Act 2009

The Fair Work Act 2009 is the key piece of legislation governing employment law in Australia.

The relevant provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 are sections 379 to 405. Part 3-2 contains those sections that apply to unfair dismissal claims.

It’s important to look at the rules for unfair dismissal. An employee can only get help for unfair dismissal if they have a legal right to it. The Fair Work Act contains this legal entitlement.

Refer to relevant Modern Awards or Enterprise Agreements

Modern Awards and Enterprise Agreements apply to some employers, industries or occupations.

When making an unfair dismissal claim, be sure to check any applicable Modern Awards and Enterprise Agreements for guidance. This is because the Fair Work Act 2009 sets out the minimum standards. Modern Awards and Enterprise Agreements may set out additional rights and entitlements for employees.

Refer to the contract of employment

It is important to outline that a contract of employment covered the employment relationship. A contract of employment places certain rights and obligations on both employers and employees.

If an employer unfairly fires an employee, the employee should point out which parts of their contract were broken. This can help them build a case for wrongful termination.

Identifying and describing the specific violations in their contract is important. It can strengthen their argument and increase their chances of receiving compensation. You may be able to demonstrate that termination of employment was unfair if:

  • during the dismissal process, your employer breached your employment contract, or
  • the employment contract did not allow the reason for the dismissal
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Refer to workplace policies

Workplace policies often do not form part of an employment contract. However, they are a part of the ‘rules’ governing an employee’s e9mployment. If an employee can demonstrate that:

  • they have not breached an employment policy, and
  • that was the reason for their termination,

the dismissal is likely to be considered unfair.

Describe the facts

It’s important to understand the difference between opinion and fact. A personal belief forms an opinion, while information supports a fact.

Referring to facts (and not opinions) is key to writing a good unfair dismissal application.

Limit the description of facts to those that are relevant to the dismissal. This might include things like:

  • what a manager said
  • the contents of a letter from the employer (such as a termination letter)
  • a text message or social media post
  • issues leading up to the termination

Describe the outcome sought

An employee must respond to question 2 in the Form F2 Unfair Dismissal Application. Question 2.1 asks ‘What outcome are you seeking by lodging this application?’.

The outcomes that an employee can ask for are:

  • compensation; and/or
  • reinstatement of the person’s employment

It is also common to request a statement of service and a reference.

Example of a completed Form F2

Here is an example of a completed Form F2. Here is an example of a sample unfair dismissal application form.

Employees should use examples as a guide only. You must tailor a Form F2 to the circumstances of the unfair dismissal claim. Avoid copying and pasting.

Step Three: File the application form and pay the application fee

An employee or their representative, like an employment lawyer, must submit an unfair dismissal claim to the Fair Work Commission. You can do this online or by emailing the completed form to the relevant State or Territory office.

You must pay a filing fee unless the FWC waive the fee. Filing fees are published on the Fair Work Commission’s website.

If an employee experiences serious financial hardship, they may receive an exemption from paying the filing fee. To request an exemption, an employee needs to fill out a form. This form waives the application fee. The employee must then send the form to the Fair Work Commission along with their application.

Step Four: Serve the unfair dismissal application on the employer

You need to send a copy of your unfair dismissal application to your employer. An employee cannot rely on the Fair Work Commission to do this for them.

Don’t forget to include the relevant employer contact when you email a completed Form F2 to the Fair Work Commission. This will ensure that you inform all necessary parties of the submission. This is an important part of procedural fairness.

Keeping everyone involved in the communication loop is important. This will help facilitate a smooth process and avoid any potential misunderstandings. This contact might be the employer’s human resources manager or the employee’s former manager.

Farrah Motley holds degrees from the Queensland University of Technology in both law and accounting. Farrah is a registered Australian Legal Practitioner and has been pracising employment law for over a decade

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I entitled to have a lawyer write an application for unfair dismissal?

Yes. You can have an employment lawyer write an application for unfair dismissal.

The Fair Work Commission must approve your request to have legal representation at the conference or any future proceedings.

We recommend that you attach all of the evidence you have access to. If you don’t have all the papers, you can still apply and send more proof later if necessary.

You should receive an acknowledgement from the Fair Work Commission. Your employer will then have an opportunity to respond. The Fair Work Commission or the employer’s lawyer will provide a copy of the employer’s response to you.

Once the Commission has all of the information, they will schedule a conference. The purpose of the conference is to give both parties an opportunity to negotiate an outcome.

About the Author

Farrah Motley
Director of Prosper Law. Farrah founded Prosper online law firm in 2021. She wanted to create a better way of doing legal work and a better experience for customers of legal services.

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