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General Protections Case: C2022/5221 Maree Fay Harwood v Southern Youth And Family Services Limited

  1. Ms Maree Fay Harwood (the Applicant) made an application to the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) under section 365 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) for the Commission to deal with a dismissal dispute.

  2. The dispute arose out of the Applicant’s allegations that she was dismissed from her employment with South Youth and Family Services Limited (the Respondent) in contravention of Part 3-1 of the Act.

  3. The information provided in the application, and in the employer response form lodged by the Respondent, indicates that the application may have been made out of time.

  4. Before considering the merits of the application, the Commission must be satisfied that the application was not made out of time and, if it was, whether there are exceptional circumstances giving rise to an extension of time.

At paragraph 71 of the decision, Commissioner Schneider said;

"I note the Respondent’s contentions regarding the above giving rise to exceptional circumstances. In response, I highlight the evidence advanced by the Applicant regarding her health concerns. Further, it is not an issue if an application is lodged on the final day of timeframe. It is understandable that one would opt to take ample time to prepare their application and such an act should not be questioned. Additionally, consistent with previous decisions of the Commission, it is not an issue if an applicant mistakenly lodges the wrong application type given this is promptly remedied."

The decision was finally determined that the Fair Work Commission did find that there were exceptional circumstances to allow the out of time application, based on the applicant having suffered a medical condition which was deemed as just cause to find 'exceptional circumstances'.

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