A mechanic has been penalised for a second time for underpaying a young apprentice.
The employer failed to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring them to calculate and then back-pay the worker.
Mechanic penalised for a second time
The Federal Circuit and Family Court penalised C & G Smith Enterprises $19,980.
The company previously operated a Rapid Tune franchise outlet in Keysborough in Melbourne.
The Fair Work Ombudsman commenced an investigation as a result of receiving a wage theft complaint from the 22 year-old apprentice.
An inspector subsequently issued a Compliance Notice in October 2021 after forming a belief that the company had underpaid the worker’s minimum wages and overtime rates.
The Notice required the employer to calculate and back-pay the worker, including superannuation and interest.
They failed to do so, however.
The court previously penalised C & G Smith Enterprises $22,200 for failing to pay a motor mechanic proper wages and entitlements.
‘Blatant disregard for workplace laws’
Judge Jonathan Forbes found that C & G Smith Enterprises had shown a “blatant disregard for workplace laws”.
“The evidence does not disclose a hint of contrition, corrective action or cooperation. There is no acknowledgement of the Compliance Notice, let alone compliance with it, he said.
Judge Forbes found the company refused to cooperate with the investigation.
He also said there is a need to impose penalties to deter C & G Enterprises and other employers from similar conduct in future.
“An important message must be conveyed to employers that a failure to comply with legal obligations will result in the issue of Compliance Notices which, if ignored, will be litigated by the Ombudsman,” Judge Forbes said.
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Meanwhile, industrial advocate Miles Heffernan said young workers are vulnerable to exploitation.
“Dodgy tradespeople always take the opportunity to rip off young apprentices,” he said.
Mr Heffernan advised affected workers to seek urgent expert advice.
“We have an intimate knowledge of wage theft laws and therefore can help workers recover every single cent owed,” he said.
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