The Fair Work ombudsman has filed a lawsuit in Federal Circuit Court against the operators of a real estate and commercial brokerage firm in Perth.
Facing the court are Darrell Crouch & Associates Pty Ltd, based in Joondanna, and the chief executive of the company, Darrell Crouch.
The regulator investigated the company after a former employee, who had been employed as a property manager, filed a request for assistance.
A fair labor inspector issued a notice of compliance to Darrell Crouch & Associates Pty Ltd in January 2021 after realizing that the employee had not received his right to payment in lieu of notice when his employment in the ‘business ended in 2019.
The employee would have been entitled to the right under national employment standards in the Fair Labor Act 2009.
The Fair Labor Ombudsman alleges that the company, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the notice of compliance, which required it to calculate and pay the employee’s unpaid rights. Mr. Crouch was allegedly involved in the offense.
In line with the proportionate approach to regulating the FWO during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FWO has made several attempts to ensure voluntary compliance before taking legal action.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator will continue to enforce workplace laws and take companies to court when legal demands are not met.
“Compliance notices are important tools used by inspectors to deal with apparent violations of fair labor law or industrial instruments, most often modern rewards,” said Ms. Parker.
“When employers fail to respond or comply with these notices, we will take appropriate enforcement action to protect employees. A court can order a company to pay penalties for failing to comply with such a notice, in addition to backpaying workers, if applicable.
“All employees with concerns about their salary or rights should contact the Fair Labor Ombudsman for free assistance. “
The FWO is calling for sanctions against Darrell Crouch & Associates Pty Ltd and Mr. Crouch. The company faces a fine of up to $ 33,300 and Mr. Crouch faces a fine of up to $ 6,660.
The regulator is also seeking a court order for the company to take the necessary action to comply with the notice of compliance, which includes full rectification of the alleged underpayment, plus superannuation and interest.
A trial hearing is scheduled at the Federal Circuit Court in Perth on June 15, 2021.