A court has penalised a Melbourne painting company almost $60,000 for refusing to pay a worker unfair dismissal compensation.
The company also failed to pay the migrant worker outstanding annual leave entitlements.
Painting company refuses to pay worker
The Federal Circuit and Family Court penalised Mehtaab Group Pty Ltd, which operates a business trading as Paint Splash based at Tarneit, $47,952.
It also penalised the company’s sole director and shareholder, Vikramjeet Singh Khalsa, a further $9,590.
The court imposed the penalties after Mehtaab Group and Mr Khalsa failed to comply with a Fair Work Commission order to pay $21,491 in unfair dismissal compensation.
The penalties also relate to the company’s failure to comply with a Compliance Notice to pay outstanding annual leave entitlements to the worker.
The compensation and entitlements were owed to an Indian international student Mehtaab Group had employed for almost a year.
The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated after receiving a wage theft complaint from the affected worker.
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The unfair dismissal
In June 2021, the Fair Work Commission found that earlier that year Mehtaab Group unfairly dismissed the worker.
The 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, however.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s attempts to secure voluntary compliance were unsuccessful.
During the investigation, an inspector formed a belief that the company failed to pay the worker’s accrued annual leave entitlements when it dismissed her.
In September 2021, the inspector issued Mehtaab Group with a Compliance Notice, requiring it to calculate and back-pay the outstanding annual leave entitlements.
Orders ‘not optional’
Meanwhile, industrial advocate Miles Heffernan warned employers that orders from courts and commissions are not optional.
“Companies that ignore orders from the Fair Work Commission can expect to be hit with penalties,” he said.
“In this case, the employer not only has to pay the hefty penalties, they also have to pay the outstanding unfair dismissal compensation.
“They also have to pay the outstanding annual leave entitlements.”
Mr Heffernan advised workers who have not received their proper wages to contact WAGETHEFT.net.au immediately.
“Thanks to recent changes to legislation, we now have quick and effective ways to recover a worker’s stolen wages,” he said.
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