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What are general protections?

All Australians are protected under law in particular aspects of employment – these are known as your General Protections.

They allow you to exercise a number of workplace rights without being punished by having adverse action taken against you.

It is unlawful for your boss to take adverse action against you for exercising a workplace right, including dismissing you.

If you are sacked for exercising a workplace right, you will be eligible to make a general protections claim involving dismissal.

What are your protected rights?

Your protected workplace rights include:

  • making a complaint or inquiry about your working conditions (for example, asking about your pay or the hours that you work)
  • making a complaint about discrimination or sexual harassment
  • a temporary absence from work because of an illness or injury
  • being absent from work during maternity leave or other parental leave
  • trade union membership (or non-membership)
  • participation in trade union activities
  • temporary absence from work to volunteer for emergency service activity

What are adverse actions?

Adverse actions can include:

  • changing your working conditions to your disadvantage (like reducing your hours or your number of shifts)
  • denying you a promotion or professional training
  • demoting you
  • forcing you to resign
  • firing you

You only have 21 days to file a claim

If you have been dismissed from employment for exercising a workplace right, you only have 21 days to file a claim.

Don’t delay – call our specialist team today on 1800 324 748.

The Fair Work Commission

The Fair Work Commission initially deals with General Protections Claims.

Parties are directed by the Commission to attend a conciliation conference to see if the matter can be settled before it is escalated.

This might involve an offer of monetary compensation, or an apology, or in some cases, reinstatement.

If the matter is not settled at the conciliation conference, it will be referred to the Federal Circuit Court. 


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