Former beauty therapy clinic operator penalised $16k for failing to act on back-pay notice

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured $16,650 in penalties in court against the former operator of a beauty therapy clinic in north-west Sydney.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed the penalty against Meriel Enterprises Pty Ltd, which formerly traded as Meei Clinic in Baulkham Hills.

The penalty was imposed in response to Meriel Enterprises failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring it to calculate and back-pay entitlements owed to a part-time beauty therapist it employed from March to June, 2021.

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Meriel Enterprises back-paid the employee only after the Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action.

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.

A Fair Work Inspector issued the Compliance Notice to Meriel Enterprises in July 2021 after forming a belief the worker was underpaid minimum wages and Saturday penalty rates under the Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010 and annual leave entitlements under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

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Judge Nicholas Manousaridis said he was satisfied that the failure to comply with the Compliance Notice “manifested a conscious disregard by Meriel Enterprises Pty Ltd of its obligations”.

Judge Manousaridis found that there was a need to send a message to employers that a failure to comply with a compliance notice will not be tolerated.