Has an employee made a Fair Work claim against you? It could be unfair dismissal or bullying and harassment. This is what to expect and how you need to respond.

Having a claim made against you can be a confronting experience. Avoiding or delaying action could result in further penalties! Read these 5 steps for a better understanding of the process and help minimise disruption to you and your business. 

Step 1 – notification 

You’ll receive a phone call from the Fair Work Commission notifying you that a claim has been made. You may also be told an enquiry has been made by an employee and Commission staff are in the process of obtaining further information – this isn’t a full-fledged claim.

Step 2 – email, post or fax

After a claim is formally filed, details will be sent to you via email, post or fax. This might be the first time you hear about the claim.

You’ll receive a Notice of Listing, which tells you the date and time at which a conciliation or conference (a meeting between you and the employee facilitated by the commission) will be held in relation to the claim.

You’ll also receive a copy of the Employer Response form that you must complete.

Step 3 – your response

You are required to prepare and file the Employer Response within 7 days of being notified. If you can’t make this timeframe work, you need to notify commission staff and let them know.

Send your completed form to the Fair Work Commission within 7 days is called ‘filing’. You must also ‘serve’ the form to the employee who has made the claim – this can be done via email, post or fax.

Step 4 – mediation 

You’re required to take part in a phone call of face to face conference (meeting) with the employee or former employee who made a claim.

The type of claim determines the type of conference that takes place, and whether it occurs by phone or in person. You can find out on your Notice of Listing.

To prepare, you should review all relevant documents carefully and make notes about what you want to say.
The person facilitating the meeting will try to find a practical way to settle the matter for both sides.

Step 5 – unfair dismissals

If the matter is not resolved it will be scheduled for a hearing. You’ll need to prepare witness statements, written submissions and other relevant documents before attending the formal hearing.

You’ll receive another Notice of Listing from the commission outlining when the hearing will be and when you need to file your supporting documents.

Next steps

Your best strategy is to maintain workplace compliance. If you have any questions, you can call the Workplace Advice Line on 13 29 59.

A version of this article first appeared on Workplace Assured.