The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a Melbourne CBD-based IT company and its director.
Facing court are Melbourne Digital Pty Ltd, which is involved in software development, and its sole director Julian Smith.
The regulator investigated after receiving requests for assistance from workers the company had employed in various information technology roles.
A Fair Work Inspector issued Compliance Notices to Melbourne Digital Pty Ltd in October and November 2021 after forming a belief the company had underpaid four workers it employed for periods of between one month and just over four months in 2021.
The workers included a software engineer, a software developer, a user experience designer and a user interface/user experience designer. The workers included an Indian national and a Pakistani national, who were on temporary graduate visas.
The inspector formed a belief the workers had variously been underpaid minimum wages under the Miscellaneous Award 2020 or the Professional Employees Award 2020, and annual leave entitlements under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.
The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Melbourne Digital Pty Ltd, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notices, which required it to calculate and back-pay the workers’ entitlements. It is alleged Mr Smith was involved in the contraventions.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses 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 in court for an alleged failure to comply with two Compliance Notices. Melbourne Digital Pty Ltd faces a penalty of up to $33,300 per contravention and Mr Smith faces a penalty of up to $6,660 per contravention.
The regulator is also seeking an order for Melbourne Digital Pty Ltd to take the steps set out in the Compliance Notices, which includes rectifying the alleged underpayments in full, plus interest and superannuation. A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 6 December 2022.