The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured $30,000 in penalties in court against a construction and home maintenance company in Brisbane and its director.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a $25,000 penalty against Design Wolf Solutions Pty Ltd, which has traded as Designwolf Building Solutions, and a further $5,000 penalty against company director Brenton John Bound.
The penalties were imposed in response to Design Wolf Solutions’ failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring it to calculate and back-pay entitlements owed to an adult apprentice builder it employed between August 2020 and May 2021.
Mr Bound was involved in the contravention.
In addition to the penalties, the court has ordered Design Wolf Solutions to back-pay the worker’s outstanding entitlements in full, plus interest.
Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face penalties in court 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 Hannah said.
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the FWO for free assistance.”
The FWO investigated after receiving a request for assistance from the affected worker, who was aged 23 when he commenced employment with Design Wolf Solutions.
Fair Work Inspectors issued a Compliance Notice to Design Wolf Solutions in September 2021 in response to the company underpaying the worker’s annual leave entitlements under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.
Judge Salvatore Vasta found that there had been a complete failure by Design Wolf Solutions and Mr Bound to engage with the Fair Work Ombudsman to resolve the matter.
“The behaviour of both respondents has been to treat the Compliance Notice with utter contempt,”Judge Vasta said.
In imposing the penalties, Judge Vasta said: “Deterrence will only be met if there are meaningful consequences for the behaviour exhibited by the respondents.”
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.