How to lodge an Unfair Dismissal Application

For free and confidential legal advice about this topic, please contact us here.

It is really important that you make this application within 21 days after your dismissal took effect. If you lodge after 21 days, you must show that there were exceptional circumstances, which can be difficult to do. If you have missed the 21-day window and still want to make an application, contact us here for free advice. 

Before you commence, read our guides on:

  1. Getting fired; and 
  2. Unfair Dismissal Applications – FAQ. 

These guides will help you understand if you are eligible to lodge this application, and some common questions on what happens after you lodge. 

Follow the steps below once you are ready to lodge your own application. 

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STEP 1: Fill in Form F2

Start by opening the Application – called a ‘Form F2’

Fill in the form, which will ask for the following information:  

SECTION 1: Initial details 

The Applicant details: These are your details – including: 

  • Contact details (address, email address, etc.) 
  • If you need an interpreter – this is a free service 
  • If you need any other special assistance 
  • Whether you have a representative (usually a lawyer), and their contact details. Please do not fill in our details in this section – you can leave it blank, and we will fill it out with our details where we have agreed to assist you as your legal representative. 

The Respondent details: These are the details of your employer, including: 

  • Your employer’s contact details (address, email address, etc.); and 
  • Your employer’s legal name and ABN, which can be found on your pay slip, contract or PAYG summary 

Your employment details: You will need to provide: 

  • When you started working for your employer – if you cannot remember the exact date, the month and/or year will be OK – but you cannot make the application unless you have been employed for at least 6 months before being fired, or 12 months if it was a small business with less than 15 employees, counting any employees of associated entities; 
  • The address of your workplace; 
  • Roughly how many employees work there – you can tick ‘I don’t know’; 
  • When you were notified of your dismissal – that is, the date you were told that you were being fired;  
  • The date the dismissal took effect – this is usually the date you were notified of the dismissal or the last day you actually worked; and 
  • Whether you’re making the application within 21 days after being fired (see how our note above); and 
  • Whether you’ve made any other type of application. The answer to this is usually no. 

SECTION 2: Remedy 

Remedy’ just means what result or outcome you want. Depending on what you want, possible outcomes might include: 

  • Reinstatement and/or transfer (getting your job back); 
  • Compensation for the time you have been out of work while looking for another job (Note: you do not need to specify any particular amount at this point) 
  • Conversion of your termination to a ‘resignation’ and a statement of service; 
  • Any other outstanding claims (e.g., for backpay/entitlements) 

It’s ok to write something very general at this stage, for example just the word ‘compensation’. This can then be further explored in conciliation. 

We do not recommend seeking an “apology” as this is not a realistic outcome in our experience.   

SECTION 3: Reasons for dismissal 

3.1 What were the reasons for the dismissal, if any, given by the employer? 

This section is about the dismissal from the employer’s perspective. We recommend keeping this section brief and factual.

  • If there is a termination letter, you can attach it to the Application and simply write: “See letter of termination dated….”   
  • If you didn’t receive a letter of termination, just outline any reasons given by the employer for your dismissal, for example, “Using mobile phone at work”. Leave aside any opinions you might have about the employer’s reasons for the next section. 

3.2 Why the dismissal was unfair? 

In this section, you can give your perspective about why you think your dismissal was unfair, but you should keep things relevant by addressing the Fair Work Act criteria to show why the dismissal was “harsh, unjust or unreasonable.”

  • Did the employer have a valid reason for dismissing you because of your capacity or conduct?  Is the reason they gave for dismissing you true? 
  • Were you notified of that reason and given an opportunity to respond?  Did they listen to your side of the story before they dismissed you? 
  • Had you been previously warned about any unsatisfactory performance (if that was the reason for your dismissal); and 
  • Were you allowed a support person in any discussions relating to the dismissal – e.g., did you ask for a union rep or friend to be with you at meetings but they said no? Did they give you enough time to find a support person? 

Where possible, we encourage you to describe events and circumstances in chronological order and keep to one point per paragraph: 

For example: 

“On 1 December 2021 I notified my employer by text at 8:50 am that I would be late for work. My boss texted back to say that was fine. At no point was I given any indication that there was a problem with my punctuality.” 

If you have any screenshots or emails you would like to include, you can attach them to the Application by saying: “See screenshot, attached”.  

Here is a sample Form F2 from the Fair Work Commission which you can use as a guide: Sample Application for Unfair Dismissal Remedy (Form F2). 

STEP 2: Pay the Application Fee

There is an application fee of $87.20, which changes on 1 July each year. You can pay the fee when you submit your application. Otherwise, you can just add your details or the details of the person paying the fee, and the FWC will call you for payment once the application has been submitted. 

If you’re experiencing significant financial hardship, you may be eligible for a fee waiver – see Form F80 available here.

STEP 3. Lodge the Application 

You can lodge your F2 Application by emailing it to [email protected].  

STEP 4. Wait to receive a Notice of Listing  

Once the FWC has received your Form F2, they will let your previous employer know that you have lodged an application for Unfair Dismissal and will send them a copy of your application – you don’t need to do this. 

Your matter will then be listed for a Conciliation, which the FWC will notify you of by email with a ‘Notice of Listing’.  

Your former employer will need to file a response to your application (this is called a Form F3).  The FWC will send it to you when they receive it, usually about a week prior to conciliation.  

Details about what happens next can be found here: Unfair Dismissal Applications – FAQ. 

Stuck or have a question? Contact us!  

We are here to help. Please reach out to us here for free and confidential advice if you have any questions or need help with any of these steps. 

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