Melbourne-based IT services provider The Backup Bloke has been hit with $13,100 in penalties for breaching the Fair Work Act, after being taken to court by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).
The Federal Circuit and Family Court fined the company $10,900 and director Paul Loiacono $2,200 for failing to comply with an order to back-pay an employee.
The Ombudsman noted that while the company did pay the worker the $65,450 he was owed, it only did so after legal action had been taken.
The Backup Bloke failed to pay the salesperson and service technician for 107 weeks worth of work plus holiday entitlements between 2015 and 2019 he was owed under the General Retail Industry Award 2010, due to payments being made “sporadically”.
The company was issued a Compliance Notice in 2020 after the worker sought support from the FWO.
Judge Karl Blake found that The Backup Bloke had intentionally not paid the worker what he was owed and had deliberately failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, according to a statement from the FWO.
The judge said there was “a need to send a message to employers large and small about the importance of meeting obligations owed to employees and the need to comply with Compliance Notices”.
“Quite frankly, recent history demonstrates that there are serious issues across many industries concerning underpayment of employees. Employers must understand the importance of paying employees correctly.”
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face court-imposed penalties on top of having to back-pay workers.
“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” Parker said.
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”