A vehicle repair business operator in Australia has been fined AU$30,000 for not paying back-pay entitlements to a worker from India, the court said.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court imposed the penalty against Bhangu Pty Ltd., which operates a business trading as Rehaan Automotive Care, based in Archerfield, a suburb in the city of Brisbane.
The penalty was imposed last week in response to Bhangu Pty Ltd. failing to comply with a compliance notice by Australian regulatory authority Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).
The FWO notice required the company to calculate and back-pay entitlements to a visa-holder worker from India, who was employed as a full-time motor mechanic between February 2017 and February 2018.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said in a statement that business operators that fail to act on compliance notices need to be aware they can face penalties in court 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 added.
“Employers should also be aware that taking action to protect vulnerable employees, such as migrant workers, is a priority for the agency. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance,” she said in an FWO statement.
The FWO investigated after receiving a request for assistance from the Indian worker and issued compliance notice to Bhangu Pty Ltd. in September 2021.
It found that the worker had been underpaid minimum wages and annual leave entitlements, owed under the Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award and the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.
Thereafter, it secured a $30,000 penalty in court against the operator of the vehicle repair and maintenance business in Brisbane.
The court has also ordered the company to take the steps required by the FWO compliance notice, which includes back-paying the worker in full, plus superannuation and interest.