Australian regulatory authority Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has initiated a legal action against an IT company and its director for underpaying four of its workers, including an Indian, in 2021.
Melbourne Digital Pty Ltd, a software development company, and its director Julian Smith will face court after the regulator received requests for assistance from workers the company had employed in various information technology roles.
The workers — a software engineer, a software developer, a user experience designer and a user interface/user experience designer — included an Indian as well as a Pakistani national, who were on temporary graduate visas.
An FWO inspector issued compliance notices to the company in October and November 2021 after probing that it had underpaid four workers it employed for periods of between one month and just over four months in 2021.
FWO alleged in a press statement that Melbourne Digital Pty Ltd, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the compliance notices, which required it to calculate and back-pay the workers’ entitlements.
It is alleged Smith was involved in the contraventions.
The FWO is seeking penalties in court for an alleged failure to comply with two compliance notices.
Melbourne Digital Pty Ltd faces a penalty of up to $33,300 per contravention and Smith faces a penalty of up to $6,660 per contravention.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.
“Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers,” Parker said in an FWO press statement.
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance,” she added.
The regulator is also seeking an order for the software development company to take the steps set out in the compliance notices, which includes rectifying alleged underpayments in full, including interest and superannuation.