If you're an employee within the private sector in NSW and you believe you've been unfairly dismissed, or were forced to resign because of something your employer did, you can lodge an application for reinstatement or compensation, with the Fair Work Commission.

This application, known as an unfair dismissal claim, must be lodged within 21 days of your employment finishing. 


To be eligible you must:

  • be an employee within the private sector in NSW
  • be covered by the national workplace relations system
  • have been employed for at least 6 months in a large business or 12 months in a small business, and
  • have been earning less than the high income threshold.

NSW public sector employees and local government employees are covered by the NSW industrial relations system.

What you need

  • your representative's details (if applicable)
  • details of the person or business (respondent) you're making your application about
  • your employment details
  • reasons the respondent gave for your dismissal (if applicable)
  • reasons why you consider the dismissal unfair
  • the outcome you're seeking.

How to lodge

  1. Take the unfair dismissal quiz to confirm your eligibility.
  2. Select the 'Download PDF form' button.
  3. Complete the form.
  4. Sign the Disclosure of information page.
  5. Decide on your method of payment, dependent on how you intend to lodge your application.
  6. Lodge your application within 21 calendar days of your dismissal to the details on the form.

More information

  • If the payment of the fee will cause you financial hardship, you can download and complete the Fee Waiver – PDF but note that your application won't be accepted until the fee has either been paid or waived.
  • The Fair Work Commission sends a copy of your application form and any supporting documents you provide, except the Fee Waiver form, to the respondent.
  • Your dismissal may be considered unfair if:
    • there was not a valid reason for your dismissal
    • you were not notified of the reason before you were dismissed
    • you were not given an opportunity to respond to the reason for your dismissal before you were dismissed
    • you had not previously been warned about unsatisfactory performance, or
    • in all the circumstances, your dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable.
  • The high income threshold is adjusted on 1 July annually. You can find the current threshold in the Benchbook – Unfair Dismissals – PDF
  • The Fair Work Commission can't provide legal advice, but there are community legal centres (CLCs) available if you need assistance.
Last updated: 7 November 2023