The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against the operators of an eyebrow shaping business in eastern Sydney.
Facing court are Get Plucked Holdings Pty Ltd (Get Plucked), a Woollahra-based business trading as Sharon Lee Inc. Eyebrow Atelier, and the company’s sole director, Sharon Lee Hamilton-Clarke.
The regulator investigated after receiving requests for assistance from two former workers who had been employed full-time as a receptionist and a beauty therapist respectively.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to the company in December 2019 after forming a belief the receptionist had been underpaid minimum wages and annual leave on termination owed for her work from August to September 2019 under the Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010.
An inspector issued a second Compliance Notice to the company in February this year after forming a belief the beauty therapist was also underpaid minimum wages, annual leave on termination, and payment in lieu of notice of termination, owed under the same award, for her work for the company from September 2019 to March 2020.
The FWO alleges Get Plucked, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notices, which required the company to calculate and back-pay the workers’ outstanding entitlements.
Ms Hamilton-Clarke was allegedly involved in the company’s failure to comply with the first Compliance Notice issued in 2020.
In line with the FWO’s proportionate approach to regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FWO attempted to secure voluntary compliance with the Compliance Notices before commencing legal action.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.
“Compliance Notices are important tools used by inspectors to deal with apparent contraventions of the Fair Work Act or industrial instruments, most typically Modern Awards,” Ms Parker said.
“Where employers do not respond to or comply with Compliance Notices, we will take appropriate enforcement action to recover employees’ entitlements. A court can order a business to pay penalties for not complying with such a Notice, in addition to back-paying workers as appropriate. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free assistance.”
The FWO is seeking penalties against Get Plucked and Ms Hamilton-Clarke. In relation to the alleged Compliance Notice contraventions, the company faces maximum potential penalties of up to $33,300 per breach and Ms Hamilton-Clarke faces potential maximum penalties of up to $6,300.
The regulator is also seeking a court order for the company to take the action required by the Compliance Notices, including calculating and rectifying underpayments in full to the workers, plus interest and superannuation.
A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on 8 July 2021.