News

FWO takes legal action against NSW business

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operator of a furniture delivery business based in Maitland, NSW.

10 May 2022 

Facing court is Mr Mariano Ezequiel Lobos, who operated RBE Transport as a sole trader, and Ms Jamie Lobos who was involved in managing the business

The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker who had been employed by Mr Lobos as a full-time furniture delivery assistant from December 2020 to July 2021.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a compliance notice to Mr and Ms Lobos in September 2021 after forming a belief that the worker had not been paid all entitlements owed under the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2020 and the Fair Work Act.

The inspector formed a belief that the worker was not paid for accrued but untaken annual leave after their employment ended.

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) alleges Mr Lobos, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the compliance notice, which required him to calculate and pay back the worker’s entitlements. 

It is alleged that Ms Lobos was involved in the contravention.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take business operators to court when they failed to act on compliance notices.

“Where employers do not comply, we are prepared to take appropriate legal action to ensure employees receive their lawful entitlements. A court can order a business to pay penalties on top of having to back pay workers,” Ms Parker said.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free advice and assistance.”

The FWO is seeking a penalty against Mr and Ms Lobos. They each face a penalty of up to $6,660 for allegedly failing to comply with the notice.

The regulator is also seeking an order for Mr Lobos to comply with the notice, which includes calculating and rectifying any underpayments in full, plus interest.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Sydney on 10 June 2022.

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What is a compliance notice?

Sometimes when an employer doesn't cooperate with a Fair Work Inspector to fix a breach, the FWO can issue a compliance notice instead of starting legal proceedings.

A compliance notice must include information about:

  • how the employer has breached a workplace law
  • what the employer needs to do to fix the issue (eg. pay an amount to one or more employees and/or give evidence to show the issue has been fixed)
  • the time the employer has to fix the issue (eg. that payment is made within 14 days)
  • how the employer can apply to have the notice reviewed by a court
  • what happens if an employer doesn't comply with the notice.

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