Natural Justice in Dismissals
Australian Journal of Administrative Law, 18 1: 14-19, 2011
Posted: 12 Jun 2015
Date Written: 2011
The law promoting fair treatment in dismissals is traceable, in Australia, to industrial tribunals intervening in industrial disputes about sackings. The tribunals – and award system – developed a reinstatement jurisdiction around a flexible standard of "harsh, unjust or unreasonable" termination. The jurisdiction was informal in that it lacked a direct statutory basis. Indeed, at federal level, most such "disputes" lacked a real interstate element. Claims were collective in nature, so that dismissed employees required backing from their union and hence some level of workplace support. A successful hearing could lead to reinstatement or even a new workplace procedure to handle future dismissals. Then, from 1972 in South Australia, and 1992 federally, Labor governments legislated an individual right to seek redress for "unfair" dismissals, including a limited amount of compensation. The mischief addressed by these laws was the lack, in the common law of dismissal, of any sense of employee entitlement to job security.
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation