Window and door construction business in court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in court against the operators of a Melbourne-based company that makes aluminium windows and doors.

Facing court is Innovative Aluminium Pty Ltd, which employed workers in the ‘Innovative Aluminium’ business in the south-east Melbourne suburb of Mulgrave, and company director Spiro Douvitsas.

The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker employed at Innovative Aluminium as a project manager between January 2019 and September 2020.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Innovative Aluminium in April 2021 after forming a belief the worker had not been paid two weeks’ pay in lieu of notice of termination, which he was entitled to under the National Employment Standards.

The FWO alleges Innovative Aluminium, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required the calculation and back-payment of the worker’s outstanding entitlements. It’s alleged Mr Douvitsas 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 Innovative Aluminium Pty Ltd and Mr Douvitsas. The company faces a maximum penalty of up to $33,000, while Mr Douvitsas faces a maximum penalty of $6,600.

The regulator is also seeking an order for the company 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 Melbourne on 27 October 2021.

Employers and employees can visit www.fairwork.gov.au 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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