Electrical contractor penalised for ignoring Fair Work order

A Queensland electrical contracting company and its director have been penalised for ignoring a Fair Work Commission order to compensate an employee who was unfairly dismissed, following action by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The Federal Circuit Court has penalised Logan City Electrical Service Division Pty Ltd $32,760 and the company’s sole director, Peter Burnitt, has been further penalised $6,552.

The company previously terminated the 26-year-old worker in 2017 after five years as a refrigeration and air-conditioning mechanic and the Fair Work Commission subsequently found that the employee had been unfairly dismissed, saying it was satisfied the dismissal was harsh, unjust and unreasonable.

The Fair Work Commission made an order requiring Logan City Electrical to pay the employee $19,640 (gross) and 9.5 per cent commission in 2017. The employee contacted the Fair Work Ombudsman seeking assistance after the compensation amount was not paid.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said that ignoring orders of the Fair Work Commission is not an option.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured penalties against several employers for failing to pay unfair dismissal compensation ordered by the Fair Work Commission,” Ms Parker said. “It is fundamental to the integrity of the workplace relations system that commission orders are enforced and we will take court action, particularly when they involve compensation for vulnerable employees.”

Logan City Electrical Service Division paid the compensation owed to the employee only after the Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action.

In one previous matter, the Fair Work Ombudsman secured penalties totalling $125,600 against Brisbane-based Macquarie Technology Group International Pty Ltd and owner Paul Desmond Wallace for failing to comply with an order to compensate an employee who had been unfairly dismissed.

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