The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured court orders for more than $62,000 in penalties and back-payment against a trolley collection business operating in Tasmania and its director.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a $16,650 penalty against Adept Trolly Collection Services Pty Ltd, which operated at Kmart sites in Launceston, Burnie and Devonport, and a $3,300 penalty against the company’s sole director, Ahlam Osman.
The penalty was imposed in response to Adept Trolly Collection Services Pty Ltd failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring it to back-pay five trolley collectors it employed across the three Kmart sites between June 2017 and April 2018. Mr Osman was involved in the contravention.
In addition to the penalty, the Court has ordered the company to back-pay the five workers a total of $42,502, plus superannuation and interest, with individual back-payments ranging from $1012 to $20,352.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said employers 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 FWO commenced an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker.
The Compliance Notice was issued in May 2021 after an inspector formed a belief that the workers had been underpaid entitlements under the Cleaning Services Award 2010 and Fair Work Act, including minimum wages, junior rates, public holiday pay, shift work loadings, and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and overtime rates.
Judge Antoni Lucev found that the failure to comply with the Compliance Notice was deliberate, that four of the five workers had experienced substantial loss and that Adept Trolly Collection Services and Mr Osman had not expressed any regret or remorse.
Judge Lucev found that there was a need to impose penalties that would deter the company and Mr Osman, as well as other employers, from similar conduct in future.
“The effectiveness of general deterrence requires an amount of penalty sufficient to send a message that contraventions of this type are serious and not acceptable,” Judge Lucev said.