Employers in the south west of Western Australia are not immune from the actions and reach of the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Former operators of a delicatessen in Dalyellup and the Hidden Gem Café on the Bussell Highway near Bunbury have been penalised more than $150,000.00 for deliberately underpaying employees, after eight workers were found to have been short-changed a total of more than $20-thousand.
In addition to the back-pay, the company which formerly operated the two businesses has been penalised $139,995.00 – the penalties being applied were in respect of 14 different contraventions including underpayments, (in some cases no payment at all was made for various periods of work performed) failing to provide employees with payslips on a regular basis as well as failing to provide any documents in response to Notices to Produce issued by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
According to the Ombudsman’s office, this is not the first time that the activities of these employers has been questioned. Federal Circuit Court Judge Antoni Lucev noted in his judgement the compliance history of the employers and found that the underpayment of the eight employees admitted in the proceedings was deliberate.
There was a clear warning from the Ombudsman’s office to all employers that follow-up checks by Fair Work Inspectors do take place. Business operators who disregard the legislation gain an unfair advantage over employers who do comply and operators who show wilful disregard or deliberate and continued contraventions can expect to face court.
Deliberate non-compliance has resulted in a large penalty in this case and employers are urged to review their payroll practices and their knowledge and understanding of workplace laws that are applicable to them. Contact the team at Workwise for advice through our website.