The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against the operators of a number of Snap Fitness outlets in Sydney.
Facing court is Leo Fitness Pty Ltd, which is the franchisee for Snap Fitness outlets at locations including Zetland and at Skyview Shopping Plaza, on George Street in the Sydney CBD.
The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from a worker who was employed on a casual basis as a receptionist at the Zetland and Sydney CBD outlets.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice in March this year after forming a belief that the company had failed to pay the employee any wages for approximately two months of casual work between May and July, 2019.
The inspector believed that the employee, aged 21 at the time, had been underpaid her minimum wages, Saturday penalty rates and casual loadings under the Fitness Industry Award 2010.
The FWO alleges that the company, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice. The notice required the company to calculate and back-pay the workers’ entitlements.
In line with the FWO’s proportionate approach to regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FWO made several attempts to secure voluntary compliance before commencing legal proceedings.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said that the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.
“Under the Fair Work Act, Compliance Notices are important tools used by inspectors if they form a belief that an employer has breached workplace laws.”
“Where employers do not comply with our requests, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order the business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers,” Ms Parker said.
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance.”
The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking a penalty against Leo Fitness Pty Ltd and a court order for the company to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying any underpayments in full, plus interest.
Leo Fitness is facing a maximum penalty of $31,500. A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on 23 October, 2020.
Employers and employees can visit www.fairwork.gov.au