The Fair Work Ombudsman has taken legal action against the operators of an electrical service company in Melbourne.
In front of the court are DB Richardson Trading Pty Ltd, which operated an electrical services business as ‘Electrafi’ in Springvale South, and the company’s sole director, Desmond Brian Richardson.
The regulator opened an investigation after receiving requests for assistance from two workers that DB Richardson Trading had employed as electricians.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a notice of compliance to DB Richardson Trading in September 2021 after finding that the company was underpaying minimum wage and workers’ annual leave entitlements as part of the price of electricity, Electronics and Communications 2010, Electricity, Electronics and Communications Prices 2020 and National Employment Standards.
Both electricians were young workers and apprenticed for part of their jobs.
The inspector estimated that one of the workers, aged 20 to 21 during his employment, had been paid a total of only $100 for about five months of casual work and four months of full-time work between May 2020 and February 2021.
The inspector estimated that the other worker, who was 19 years old during his employment, had been paid a total of only $3,250 for more than three months of casual work and more than seven months of part-time work between January and December 2020.
The FWO alleges that DB Richardson Trading Pty Ltd, without a reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the compliance notice, which required the calculation and reimbursement of unpaid workers’ duties. It is alleged that Mr. Richardson was involved in the ticket.
Fair Labor Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator will continue to enforce labor laws and take companies to court when legal demands are not met.
“If employers fail to comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a company to pay penalties in addition to workers’ back wages. Any employee with concerns about their pay or rights should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance,” Ms Parker said.
The FWO is seeking sanctions against DB Richardson Trading Pty Ltd and Mr. Richardson for allegedly failing to comply with the Notice of Compliance. The company faces a fine of up to $33,300 and Mr. Richardson faces a fine of up to $6,660.
The regulator is also seeking an order for the company to comply with the compliance notice, including rectification of any underpayment in full, plus interest and superannuation. A directions hearing is scheduled at the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on August 25, 2022.