WorkChoices legislation is now in force. All employers have a new ball game to learn. "Unfair Dismissal", and all the unfair things it meant for employers, has passed into history for small business. Now "Unlawful Dismissal" looms as the new minefield to navigate.

Lead article in Melbourne's "The Age" newspaper Monday April 3, demonstrates that all employers can easily act illegally in regard to workplace relations. Employers who might have once have been taken to the tribunal for acting "unfairly", now face the more substantial risk of acting "illegally".

"The difference between this and an unfair dismissal claim is that there are costs implications for bringing a claim .....This is a great deterrent to applicants bringing spurious claims. If they lose, they will have to pay your costs." reports Peter Swither (The Australian, March 28, 2006)

Instead of removing the burdens of the old law, the prospect of legal action for "illegal dismissal" makes the demand for workplace agreements and employment contracts all the more compelling.

"IR experts advise employers to give no reason to bring a claim when terminating an employee." Swither continues. "Lawyers (probably with the support of some judges) are going to be looking very hard at terminations to see whether they can link them in any way to these criteria in order to bring successful claims", he points out.

Every employer needs contracts that nominate how much notice will be given before sacking a worker, and it should be two weeks to a month. If this has not been done, the court will imply a notice period which could run up to six months. In some cases the practice has been to do all this just for higher level employees. Now it must be done for everyone!

Fortunately, the work is already done for you. First, Check out the "real deal" on the Government website "Workchoices".

Then visit "The Red Zebra Business Centre" BizStaff? page at There you'll find all you need to deal with this brave new world of "illegal dismissal".

Now, that wasn't so hard, was it?


Any advice, information or comment contained in this document is general in nature, and should not be relied on as the basis for any specific commercial, business, employment, or financial decision. Specific advice should always be obtained for each individual circumstance. Accordingly any advice, information or comment contained herein is for general guidance only.