Waste recycler hauled to court

NSW-based building waste recycling yard operator Natjon Constructions Pty Ltd is set to face court for failing to provide the correct pay to a casual employee who worked as a driver at its recycling yard in Geelong.

A Fair Work Inspector who looked into the matter found that the employee had been underpaid casual minimum wages, overtime rates and Sunday rates under the Waste Management Award 2010 between February and December 2019. A Compliance Notice was issued to the company as a result.

The FWO alleged that the company, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice which required it to calculate and back-pay the worker’s entitlements. In line with the FWO’s proportionate approach to regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FWO made several attempts to secure voluntary compliance before commencing legal proceedings.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said that the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.

“Under the Fair Work Act, Compliance Notices are important tools used by inspectors if they form a belief that an employer has breached workplace laws,” Parker said. “Where employers do not comply with our requests, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order the business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking a penalty of up to $31,500 against Natjon Constructions Pty Ltd and a court order for the company to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying any underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on 2 October 2020.

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