The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operators of a motor vehicle smash repair business in Western Sydney.
Facing court are ESR Group Pty Ltd, which operates ‘Essential Motor Body Smash Repairs’ in Seven Hills, and company manager Paul Silvestro.
The regulator investigated after receiving requests for assistance from four workers who were employed at the business for various periods between March 2020 and December 2021.
The workers included three panel beaters, including an apprentice aged 19 to 20 at the time, and a spray painter. They were all employed on a full-time basis.
Fair Work Inspectors issued Compliance Notices to ESR Group between August 2021 and August 2022 after forming a belief the workers had not been paid accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements when their employment ended, owed under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.
The inspectors also formed a belief that two of the workers were not paid any wages for some work performed, owed under the Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award 2020 and that one worker was not paid personal leave entitlements.
The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges ESR Group, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notices, which required it to calculate and back-pay the workers’ entitlements. Four breaches of pay slip laws are also alleged.
It is alleged Mr Silvestro was involved in some of the Compliance Notice contraventions and the pay slip breaches.
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 relation to the alleged Compliance Notice breaches, ESR Group faces a penalty of up to $33,300 per breach and Mr Silvestro faces a penalty of up to $6,660 per breach.
In relation to the alleged pay slip breaches, ESR Group faces a penalty of up to $66,600 per breach and Mr Silvestro faces a penalty of up to $13,320 per breach.
The regulator is also seeking orders for ESR Group to rectify the alleged underpayments in full, plus interest and superannuation.
A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Sydney on 20 July 2023.