The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a penalty in court against the operators of a Melbourne-based removalist business.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a $14,000 penalty against AKASA WA PTY LTD, trading as My Moovers WA & SA.
The penalty was imposed in response to the company failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring the back-payment of entitlements to a worker who was employed on a full-time basis as a call centre customer contact officer between November 2020 and March 2021.
The Court has also ordered AKASA WA PTY LTD to comply with the Compliance Notice by back-paying the worker in full. The worker has been only partially back-paid to date.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face court-imposed penalties on top of having to back-pay workers.
“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” Ms Parker said.
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”
The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from the affected worker.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to AKASA WA PTY LTD in July 2021 after forming a belief the worker had been underpaid minimum wages for ordinary hours, overtime, and weekend and public holiday penalty rates under the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2020.
Deputy Chief Judge Mercuri noted that the Compliance Notice related to an underpayment of more than $6000 and found that there was a need to impose a penalty that would deter others from similar conduct.
“If compliance notices are to be an effective enforcement mechanism with the benefit of avoiding additional costs and delay associated with litigation, a breach of such notices must result in a penalty at a sufficient level which would deter others from simply ignoring such notices or otherwise failing to comply with them,” Judge Mercuri said.