If an unfair dismissal application cannot be resolved at conciliation, the application will proceed to a hearing or a conference. A Fair Work Commission Member may choose to hold either:
An unfair dismissal conference is generally an informal proceeding conducted by a Member of the Commission. They generally involve the Commission assisting parties to discuss and resolve issues by conciliation or mediation.
The Commission must conduct an unfair dismissal conference in private. In private means that members of the public are not permitted to attend.
Hearings are more formal than conferences and result in the Commission Member making a decision on the matter. They are more 'court-like' than conferences and can involve sworn submissions of evidence, witness examination, exhibits etc.
In unfair dismissal cases where both parties are representing themselves, the matter may be listed for determinative conference or hearing.
Like a conference, this type of proceeding is conducted in private and is generally less formal than a hearing. However, as with a formal hearing, the Commission member will make a decision which, in most circumstances, will be published on the Commission's website along with the parties' names.
Watch the Commission's video series on determinative conferences:
If one of the parties to a matter is represented (ie has a lawyer, union or employer organisation representing them) directions will be issued that the parties will need to follow.
If both parties to a matter are self-represented, the Commission may issue requirements for the parties to complete and lodge the relevant documents from the lists below. These documents are designed to help you prepare for your unfair dismissal conference or hearing, and gather information that will be relevant to the Member deciding whether or not the dismissal was unfair. Instructions are also included on the first page of each document. Once completed you should send the document to the Commission and to the other party.
If you are required to complete one or more of the documents from the lists below, it is important to note the following:
If you are the applicant (employee) in an unfair dismissal matter you may be asked to to fill out and submit the following documents:
If you have made an unfair dismissal application after the 21 day time limit, you may be asked to complete the:
If the respondent (the employer) has objected to your unfair dismissal application, you may be asked to complete the:
If you are the respondent (the employer) in an unfair dismissal matter you may be asked to to complete and submit the following documents:
As the respondent (employer), if you submit an objection to the unfair dismissal application you may also be asked to complete and submit the: