The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a former operator of a vehicle repair business in southern Sydney and its director.
Facing the Federal Circuit and Family Court are J & L Auto Electrics Pty Limited, which was based in Bexley before it ceased trading, and the company’s sole director Charles Charalambous.
The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from a worker J & L Auto Electrics Pty Limited had employed between April 1999 and June 2021 to perform various vehicle repair duties.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to J & L Auto Electrics Pty Limited in July 2022 after forming a belief that the worker had been underpaid.
The inspector formed a belief that the worker had been underpaid minimum wages and payment-in-lieu-of-notice-of termination under the Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award 2020 and annual leave entitlements under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.
It is alleged the worker is owed $19,968.20.
The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges J & L Auto Electrics Pty Limited, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required the company to calculate and back-pay the worker’s outstanding entitlements. It is alleged Mr Charalambous was involved in the contravention.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take business operators to court when they fail to act on Compliance Notices.
“Where employers do not comply, we are prepared to take appropriate legal action to ensure employees receive their lawful entitlements. A court can order a business to pay penalties on top of having to back-pay workers,” Ms Parker said.
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free advice and assistance.”
The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking penalties against J & L Auto Electrics Pty Limited and Mr Charalambous for allegedly failing to comply with the Compliance Notice. The company faces a penalty of up to $33,300 and Mr Charalambous faces a penalty of up to $6,660.
The regulator is also seeking an order for J & L Auto Electrics Pty Limited to take all remaining action required by the Compliance Notice, including rectifying the alleged underpayment in full, plus interest and superannuation.
A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Sydney on 14 April 2023.