Another employee claiming unfair dismissal has received a rare extension of time because of problems in the Fair Work Commission’s online lodgement system.
A former employee of RACV completed the online paperwork, hit submit, received an acknowledgement that the application had been lodged and received a lodgement reference number. The employee thought (understandably) that she’d successfully lodged her application.
The employee was aware of the fee to lodge an unfair dismissal application and expected, based on the lodgement reference number, that a request for payment would come separately.
That didn’t happen. Nor was the form considered to be lodged.
As the FWC put it:
“what the OLS system should do and what it did do are two very different things.”
The problem was only discovered when the employee sent an email to the FWC a week later asking what was happening. Once found, the application was formally lodged – out of time. That meant the employee was required to ask for an extension of time.
It’s rare to get an extension of time. The circumstances must be exceptional. Most requests for an extension of time are on grounds of “didn’t understand” and “wasn’t told” – which won’t work.
In this case, because the problem was ultimately caused by FWC, the extension of time was granted.
It’s not the first instance of IT issues in the online lodgement system and, unless there are changes, it’s unlikely to be the last, either.
That’s a waste of time for everyone
The sacked employee faces the uncertainty of whether his or her application for unfair dismissal is live.
The employer’s time is wasted responding to the request for the extension of time.
The FWCs resources are wasted stretched needing to deal with these applications – administration, commissioners making the determination.
And your time is wasted reading an article like this, talking about a legal decision that shouldn’t have to be made.
Not wasted enough time? Read the full decision here.