The operator of now-defunct NBN contractor Attain Solutions has been fined by the Fair Work Ombudsman for allegedly underpaying one of the company’s employees.
Queensland-based Bradley Wells was fined $41,040 for failing to pay any wages to an Attain Solutions worker for almost a month’s work,.
Wells was also ordered to pay the employee $3945 in wages and entitlements, plus interest for the 150 hours the employee worked between June 1st and 26th, 2017. But he did not make that payment, or participate in the recovery process. So Fair Work sought and was granted a penalty to deter future non-payment of wages.
Before the company was placed into liquidation in 2018, Attain Solutions provided civil works and underground services for the installation of telecommunications infrastructure to NBN Co contractors, for work on the NBN in Queensland. The employee involved was tasked to dig trenches and lay pipes at various locations in South-East Queensland.
Fair Work took Wells to the Brisbane Federal Circuit Court in May this year, suing him for not only the underpayment but also for failing to comply with a Notice to Produce Records and Documents during the investigation.
Judge Michael Jarrett said Wells’ breaches were “deliberate”, with Fair Work issuing him with four Compliance Notices and formal cautions two times.
Jarrett also noted that Wells remains a director of another civil construction company, Attain Infrastructure, and that the fine had to be imposed to deter Wells from breaching workplace laws in future.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said any employer who fails to meet their obligation to pay an employee wages for work performed risks facing serious consequences.
“We will not tolerate employers blatantly breaching workplace laws by failing to pay an employee their lawful wages for work performed. Employers should note that we treat the exploitation of young workers very seriously, who can be particularly vulnerable if it is their first job,” Parker said.
“We urge any young workers with concerns about their wages or entitlements to contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free advice and assistance.”