General protections

General protections are rights and protections that national system employees have under the general protections part of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

Under this part of the Act, employers are generally prevented from taking adverse action against an employee for certain prohibited reasons. Here are some examples of prohibited reasons:

• exercising a workplace right, such as the right to take sick leave, or the right to make a complaint or inquiry in relation to your employment;
• being temporarily absent due to illness or injury;
• engaging in, or not engaging in, industrial activity;
• having certain protected characteristics such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer’s responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin.

So, for example, if your employer fired you because you took sick leave or because you were pregnant, you may be able to make a general protections claim against your employer.

The above list of prohibited reasons does not cover every situation so you should seek legal advice if you think your employer might have taken adverse action against you for a prohibited reason.

Employers are also prevented from applying undue influence or undue pressure to employees or from coercing employees to do certain things.

For more information, see our fact sheet General protections for national system employees.