How Much Money Can I Get?
Although most claims lodged in the areas of unfair dismissal, discrimination and sexual harassment will settle prior to a hearing, sometimes an employer will refuse to make any offers, or the offer which they make is simply unacceptable.
If you lodge a claim against your employer and it does not settle, you can pursue the claim through to a court, commission or tribunal where a judge or member of the tribunal or commission will make the final decision.
Australian Workplace Discrimination Representatives (AWDR) has extensive experience representing individuals in hearings; a summary of our recent cases can be found at the Claims We Have Taken to Tribunals page.
Working out how much your claim is worth is a complicated process, and it won’t always be obvious when your claim is initially lodged. In some types of claims, such as sexual harassment claims, you can claim compensation for your loss of income, and for pain and suffering. In other types of claims, such as unfair dismissal claims, compensation is limited to loss of income. Other outcomes may be sought, such as reinstatement or an apology.
In every circumstance, we will strive to get the best possible outcome for you.
Below is a summary of recent compensation awards in the different jurisdictions. These summaries do not include every decision handed down in each jurisdiction, but can help you to get an idea of what compensation you might be entitled to.
At Australian Workplace Discrimination Representatives (AWDR) we are here to advise you as correctly and honestly as possible, we always suggest that you conduct your own research if you are looking at pursuing legal action.
Unfair Dismissal Statistics
In the period 1 July 2012 to 31 January 2013, the Commission issued decisions for 369 claims of unfair dismissal. A total of 86 applications (24%) were granted in favour of the applicant, the remaining 283 applications were dismissed.
The maximum compensation which can be awarded for an unfair dismissal application is $61,650; or six month’s wages.
The following table summarises the orders made by the Commission within this time frame:
|Result type||Year to date||Year to date %|
|Settlements involving monetary outcomes||3681||100|
|Settlements involving non-monetary outcomes|
|Employment separation certificate||182||N/A|
|Payment in kind||33||N/A|
|Provision of information or undertaking||815||N/A|
|Return of property||85||N/A|
|Statement of service||2688||N/A|
|Withdrawal of allegation(s)||20||N/A|
|Withdrawal of application||634||N/A|
The above data is from the Fair Work Commission, and can be accessed here:
Below are some examples of outcomes from successful Unfair Dismissal, Sexual Harassment and Discrimination claims brought to the Fair Work Commission or Federal Court by Applicants:
Guido v Akzo Nobel Pty Ltd  FWC 1994
The Applicant was employed for over 23 years before being dismissed. He was involved in an argument in the warehouse, it was also alleged by the Employer that he had deliberately sought to deceive them by taking a period of sick leave.
On 23 April 2013 Commissioner Cribb handed down a decision stating that the Applicant’s dismissal was unfair, and awarded compensation to the value of $25,334.75.
Anneveldt v Heran Building Group Pty Ltd  FWC 2224
The Applicant had been engaged as an independent contractor since 1988, and commenced permanent employment in May 2007. The Applicant was dismissed for a downturn in business activity. On 18 April 2013 Commissioner Cambridge handed down a decision stating that the Applicant’s dismissal was unfair, and awarded $27,600 as compensation.
Wiedorroth v Alegna Health Centre  FWC 1642
The Applicant was dismissed for gross misconduct for an alleged breach of the Company’s Confidentiality policy after just over one year’s service. The Respondent later lodged a jurisdictional objection, claiming that the dismissal was a case of genuine redundancy; this objection was dismissed. The Respondent did not attend the hearing. On 18 March 2013 Senior Deputy President Richards handed down a decision stating that the Applicant’s dismissal was not a case of genuine redundancy, and awarded an amount of $35,000 (6 months) wages.
Blunt v Alegna Health Centre  FWC 1583
The Applicant was dismissed for gross misconduct for an alleged breach of the Company’s Confidentiality policy after over two years service with the Respondent. The Respondent later lodged a jurisdictional objection, claiming that the dismissal was a case of genuine redundancy; this objection was dismissed. The Respondent did not attend the hearing. On 15 March 2013 Senior Deputy President Richards handed down a decision stating that the Applicant’s dismissal was harsh and unfair, and ordered payment of 20.8 weeks wages as compensation.
Viska v Lucas Dumbrell Investments Pty Ltd T/A Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport  FWC 1606
The Applicant was employed by the Company from 15 August 2011 until his employment was terminated on 20 August 2012.
The Respondent did not comply with the Commission’s directions to file material, nor did they communicate with the Commission or return any phone calls.
The Respondent did not attend the hearing despite the Commission making numerous attempts to contact them. The Respondent later phoned the Commission advising that he had had an accident that morning which prevented him from attending the hearing, and sought to have the application reheard; however no medical evidence or statutory declarations were provided. The Respondent’s application for a rehearing was dismissed.
On 15 March 2013 Commissioner Gooley handed down a decision stating that the Applicant’s dismissal was unfair, and ordered payment of $39,512.50 in compensation.
Fisher v ANZ Banking Group Limited  FWC 347
The Applicant was employed by ANZ for 32 years until her dismissal in August 2012. She was dismissed for an alleged breach of the company’s code of conduct, by servicing a family member’s account.
On 6 March 2013 Commissioner Riordan handed down a decision stating that the Applicant’s dismissal was unfair. The Commissioner ordered reinstatement with full back pay.
Heagney v RJ Sanderson & Associates Pty Ltd  FWC 1069
The Applicant commenced employment with the Respondent on 29 July 2011 until she resigned on 17 August 2012.
The Commission found that the Applicant had been forced to resign, and awarded compensation of the amount of 11 weeks wages.
Price v EJ Cutting Pty Ltd  FWC 36
The Applicant was employed by the Respondent from May 2011 to August 2012 as an accounts manager. The Applicant was dismissed for abandonment of employment. Commissioner Lee handed down a decision stating that the Applicant’s employment was unfair and awarded $25,000 in compensation.
Frawley v Australian Carpet Cleaning Services P/L T/A Australian Carpet Cleaning Services  FWC 545
The Applicant worked as a day cleaner between April 2009 and 20 July 2012 as a day cleaner. She was dismissed for alleged abandonment of employment.
On 4 February 2012 Senior Deputy President Watson ruled that the Applicant’s dismissal was unfair, and awarded $12,510 in compensation.
Meischke v Green Engineering Pty Ltd  FWC 97
The Applicant commenced employment with the Respondent on 3 January 2012; he was dismissed on 2 August 2012, due to a company restructure. On 22 January 2013 Senior Deputy President Hamberger handed down a decision stating that the Applicant’s dismissal was unfair and ordering payment of $15,000 compensation.
Borg v NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners & Trainers’ Association  FWA 10013
The Applicant had been an employee of the Respondent for over 40 years; he was employed as a casual employee, working on a regular and systematic basis until the date of his unfair dismissal on 28 March 2012.
On 5 December 2012 Deputy President Sams handed down a decision stating that the Applicant’s dismissal was unfair and ordering that the Applicant be paid an amount of 16 weeks ($8,000) compensation.
Weerheim v S&J Scotts Diaries  FWA 10267
The Applicant was employed from September 2010 until the date of his unfair dismissal on 19 July 2012. The reason for dismissal provided by the Respondent was unsatisfactory performance.
On 6 December 2012 Deputy President Harrison handed down a decision stating that the Applicant’s dismissal was unfair and ordering that the Applicant be paid an amount of $5,000 as compensation.
Kennedy v S & CK Earthmoving Pty Ltd  FWA 10434
On 12 December 2012 Commissioner Blair handed down a decision stating that the Applicant had been unfairly dismissed and ordered payment of $25,000.
Symonds v GM Holden Ltd  FWA 10454
The Applicant was employed from 28 January 2003 until the date of his unfair dismissal on 25 January 2012. The reasons for dismissal provided by the respondent was due to misconduct and driving in an unsafe manner.
On 18 December 2012 Commissioner Steel handed down a decision stating that the Applicant’s dismissal was unfair and ordering that the Applicant be reinstated with back pay for the period he was out of work.
Adcock v Moltini Waste Management  FWA 9643
The Applicant was employed from 6 December 2010 to 9 December 2011, a period of 12 months. The Applicant was dismissed due to allegations of abusive language in the workplace.
On 13 November 2012 Commissioner Ashbury handed down a decision ruling that the Applicant’s dismissal was unfair; on 3 December 2012 the Commissioner handed down an award of $7,840.00 gross (equal to 8 weeks wages) plus 9% superannuation.
Nasrieh v ComfortDelGro Cabcharge Pty Ltd T/A Hillsbus  FWA 6917
The Applicant was employed from 1 September 2003 until the date the unfair dismissal on 29 June 2012; a period of approximately 8 years and 10 months. The Applicant was dismissed due to using his mobile phone twice whilst in control of a bus.
On 12 November 2012 Deputy President Booth handed down a decision in favour of the Applicant, stating that the Applicant’s dismissal was unfair and awarded reinstatement.
Sexual Harassment and Sex Discrimination
Gilroy v Angelov  FCW 1775
Ms Gilroy had been sexually harassed by a co-worker, and was later dismissed from her employment. She was awarded damages totalling $24,000.
Elliott v Nanda & Commonwealth  FCA 418
Ms Elliot was sexually harassed by her employer, Dr Nanda, and was also discriminated against on the basis of her sex. Ms Elliot was awarded damages totalling $20,100.
Shiels v James  FMCA 2
Ms Shiels was subject to comments of a sexual nature, unwelcome touching and a pattern of sexual pressure. She was awarded damages totalling $17,000.
Horman v Distribution Group  FMCA 52
The Applicant was deemed to have suffered sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex. The Applicant was awarded compensation totalling $12,500.
Wattle v Kirkland (No 2)  FMCA 135
The Applicant was employed as a taxi driver, during which time she was subjected to unwanted physical contact and remarks of a sexual nature. The Applicant was awarded compensation totalling $28,035.
Aleksovski v Australia Asia Aerospace Pty Ltd  FMCA 81
Ms Aleksovski was subjected to repeated forceful requests from a co-worker to spend time alone together ‘at his place’. She was awarded compensation totalling $7,500.
Bishop v Takla  FMCA 74
Ms Bishop was subjected to a range of unwanted sexual harassment, including sexual remarks and physical contact; she suffered post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the harassment. She was awarded compensation totalling $24,386.40.
Hughes v Car Buyers Pty Ltd (2004)  FMCA 526
It was found that the Applicant, Hughes, had been subjected to a range of sexual harassment as well as discrimination on the basis of sex. Hughes had suffered depression, anxiety, loss of motivation and loss of enjoyment of life. The Applicant was awarded compensation totalling $24,623.50.
South Pacific Resort Hotels Pty Ltd v Trainor  FCAFC 130; ( FMCA 374)
Trainor had been subjected to unwanted sexual advances and requests for sexual favours by a fellow employee. Damages of $17,536.80 were awarded. South Pacific Resort Hotels appealed the decision; however the appeal was dismissed.
Frith v The Exchange Hotel  FMCA 402
It was found that a director of the hotel had sexually harassed Frith. It was found that the director had threatened the Applicant that if she did not have sex with him, she could not work for him. She was awarded $15,000 in damages.
Lee v Smith (No 2)  FMCA 1092
It was found that the Applicant had been subjected to sexual harassment in the form of rape, as well as sexual discrimination and victimisation. She was awarded $392,422.32 in damages.
McKenzie v Department of Urban Services  FCA 451
It was found that the Applicant had been the subject of disability discrimination. Ms McKenzie had a disability which prevented her from working on the counter and being involved in face to face contact with members of the public, or any duties involving the collection or counting of money. The Respondent would not accommodate for the Applicant’s disability. She was awarded $39,000 in compensation.
Randell v Consolidated Bearing Company (SA) Pty Ltd  FMCA 44
The Applicant was dismissed from his position in a traineeship due to his dyslexia. This was found to amount to disability discrimination, and the Applicant was awarded $14,701 in damages.
Power v Aboriginal Hostels Ltd  FMCA 452
It was found that the Respondent had engaged in unlawful discrimination by dismissing the applicant on the basis of an imputed disability. The Applicant was awarded $15,000 in damages.
Wiggins v Department of Defence – Nay (No 3)  FMCA 970
The Respondent was found to have engaged in disability discrimination by demoting the Applicant whilst she was on sick leave, without her consent or any consultation. She was awarded $25,000 in damages.
Rawcliffe v Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service  FMCA 931
The Respondent was found to have engaged in disability discrimination by refusing to accommodate for the Applicant’s epilepsy and provide him with afternoon shifts. The Applicant was awarded $15,000 in compensation.
Gordon v Commonwealth  FCA 603
It was found that the Respondent had engaged in disability discrimination by dismissing the Applicant from his employment on the basis of his hypertension. The Applicant was awarded $121,762 in compensation.
Maxworthy v Shaw  FMCA 1014
It was found that the Respondent had engaged in unlawful disability discrimination by terminating the Applicant due to her disability. The Applicant was awarded $63,394.50 in damages.
Carr v Boree Aboriginal Corporation  FMCA 408
It was found that the Respondent had engaged in unlawful racial discrimination by dismissing the Applicant a because of her ‘race or non-Aboriginality’. She was awarded $21,266.50 in compensation.
Baird v State of Queensland (No 2)  FCAFC 198
It was found that the Respondent had engaged in unlawful racial discrimination, by paying Aboriginal employees substantially less than their caucasion counterparts. The court made the following awards to each of the appellants: Baird $17,000; Creek $45,000; Tayley $37,000; Walker $45,000; Deeral $85,000; Gordon $19,800.
Gama v Qantas Airways Ltd (No 2)  FMCA 1676
It was found that the Respondent had engaged in unlawful racial discrimination, comments had been made to Mr Gama such as “You should be walking up the stairs like a monkey”. It was found that the unlawful discrimination had contributed to his severe depressive illness; he was awarded $71,692 in compensation.