IT services company faces court for allegedly underpaying worker’s minimum wages

“Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees."

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a Gold Coast-based IT services company and its director.

Facing court are Vertebral Pty Ltd and company director Yasien Adams.

The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from a worker the company employed as a network engineer between January and August 2020.

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The worker, from the United Arab Emirates, was a visa holder at the time.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Vertebral Pty Ltd in December 2021 after forming a belief the company had underpaid the worker’s minimum wages, payment-in-lieu-of-notice-of-termination entitlements and annual leave entitlements under the Professional Employees Award 2010, the Professional Employees Award 2020 and the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Vertebral Pty Ltd, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to calculate and back-pay the worker’s entitlements. It is alleged Mr Adams was involved in the contravention.

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.

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The FWO is seeking penalties in court for the alleged failure to comply with the Compliance Notice. Vertebral Pty Ltd faces a penalty of up to $33,300 and Mr Adams faces a penalty of up to $6,660.

The regulator is also seeking an order for Vertebral Pty Ltd to rectify the alleged underpayment amount in full, plus interest and superannuation. A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Brisbane on 13 February 2023.