Plumbing company in court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operators of a plumbing company located at Wagga Wagga, in regional NSW.

Facing court are Garry Bateman Plumbing Pty Ltd and its sole director Garry Bateman.

The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a young worker employed by Garry Bateman Plumbing as an apprentice plumber between January and July 2020.

The worker was aged 18 to 19 during the employment period.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Garry Bateman Plumbing in June 2021 after forming a belief that the worker had been underpaid minimum wages for apprentices under the Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award 2010 and annual leave entitlements under the National Employment Standards.

The FWO alleges Garry Bateman Plumbing, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to calculate and back-pay the worker’s entitlements. It is alleged Mr Bateman was involved in the contravention.

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.

“Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers.”

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance,” Ms Parker said.

The FWO is seeking penalties against Garry Bateman Plumbing Pty Ltd and Mr Bateman for allegedly failing to comply with the Compliance Notice.

The maximum penalty for the company is $33,300 and the maximum penalty for Mr Bateman is $6,660.

The regulator is also seeking an order for Garry Bateman Plumbing Pty Ltd to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying any underpayments in full, plus interest and superannuation.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Sydney on 1 February 2022.

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