The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured more than $57,000 in penalties in court against the operators of a Melbourne painting company for breaches affecting a migrant worker.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a $47,952 penalty against Mehtaab Group Pty Ltd, which operates a business trading as Paint Splash based at Tarneit, and a $9,590.04 penalty against the company’s sole director and shareholder, Vikramjeet Singh Khalsa.
The penalties were imposed against Mehtaab Group after the Court found the company breached the Fair Work Act by failing to comply with a Fair Work Commission order to pay $21,491.17 in compensation to the worker as a result of an unfair dismissal claim, and failing to comply with a Fair Work Ombudsman Compliance Notice to pay outstanding annual leave entitlements to the worker.
The penalties were imposed against Mr Khalsa after the Court found he was involved in both breaches.
The compensation and entitlements were owed to an Indian international student Mehtaab Group had employed for almost a year.
In addition to the penalties, the Court has ordered Mehtaab Group to pay the outstanding Fair Work Commission order for unfair dismissal compensation, plus superannuation, and to calculate and back-pay the annual leave entitlements owing to the worker.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator was prepared to take action to reinforce the importance of complying with Fair Work Commission orders and FWO Compliance Notices.
“It is fundamental for the integrity of the workplace relations system that Fair Work Commission orders and our Compliance Notices are complied with,” Ms Parker said.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman is prepared to take legal action to ensure that employees receive all compensation and entitlements they are lawfully entitled to. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the FWO for free advice and assistance.”
The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated after receiving a request for assistance from the affected worker.
In June 2021, the Fair Work Commission found that earlier that year Mehtaab Group unfairly dismissed the worker.
The Fair Work Commission ordered the company to pay the worker $21,491 compensation, plus superannuation, within two weeks. The company failed to make the payments to her.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s attempts to secure voluntary compliance were not successful.
During the investigation, a Fair Work Inspector formed a belief that Mehtaab Group failed to pay the worker’s accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements when it dismissed her.
In September 2021, the inspector issued Mehtaab Group with a Compliance Notice, which required the company to calculate and back-pay any outstanding annual leave entitlements owed to the worker.
The FWO has filed 126 litigations involving visa holder workers, and secured more than $13.4 million in court-ordered penalties in visa holder litigations, in the past five full financial years.