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What are general protections?

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

They allow you to 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, this is known as an unlawful dismissal, and you are eligible to make a general protections claim involving dismissal.

What are your protected rights?

Your workplace rights include:

  • making a complaint or inquiry about your working conditions (like your pay or the hours that you work)
  • making a formal 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 action 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
  • sacking you

If you can prove that you were exercising a workplace right, or were planning to exercise a workplace right, when an adverse action was taken against you, then it is up to your boss to prove that was not the reason why the action was taken.

This is known as a reverse onus of proof.


How much compensation will you get?

You are eligible to receive a larger compensation payout if you win a general protections claim involving dismissal (compared with an unfair dismissal claim) because it can also include damages for shock and distress.

In addition, your employer can be made to pay pecuniary penalties which are uncapped. 

We have extensive experience negotiating fair compensation for our clients who file general protections claims.

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 team of employment lawyers and industrial advocates today.


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