Sydney refrigeration business in court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a western Sydney-based refrigeration business and its director.

Facing court is Fresh Refrigeration Pty Ltd, a business based in St Marys that installs, services and repairs refrigeration and air-conditioning units. Also facing court is company director Mr Robertino Stoicescu.

The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker employed at Fresh Refrigeration on a full-time basis as an adult air-conditioning and refrigeration apprentice between January 2019 and November 2020.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to the company in February 2021 after forming a belief the worker had not been paid accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements owed under the National Employment Standards.

The FWO alleges the company, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required the calculation and back-payment of the worker’s outstanding entitlements. It is alleged Mr Stoicescu was involved in the contravention.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws in a proportionate manner during the COVID-19 pandemic and take business operators 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 Fresh Refrigeration Pty Ltd and Mr Stoicescu. The company faces a maximum penalty of up to $33,300 for the alleged Compliance Notice contravention, while Mr Stoicescu faces a maximum penalty of up to $6,660.

The regulator is also seeking an order for the company to pay to the employee the alleged outstanding entitlement of $4,816.79, plus interest.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Sydney on 12 October 2021.

Employers and employees can visit or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance about their rights and obligations in the workplace. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50. Small businesses can find targeted resources at the Small Business Showcase.

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