News

Victorian construction company in court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a Melbourne-based home construction contract company and its director.

11 May 2022 

Facing court are Local Builders Direct Pty Ltd and the company’s sole director and shareholder, Angelo Adamo.

The company has an office in Ravenhall and a display home centre on a site in Diggers Rest.

The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker who had been employed by Local Builders Direct as a sales consultant between November 2020 and May 2021.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Local Builders Direct in July 2021 after forming a belief that the worker had been underpaid with minimum wages and payment in lieu of notice, as well as personal and annual leave entitlements under the Miscellaneous Award 2020 and the National Employment Standards.

It is alleged that Local Builders Direct responded by paying the worker a total of $796.70 of back pay but more than $500 remains owing.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Local Builders Direct, without reasonable excuse, failed to fully comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to calculate and pay the worker’s entitlements in full. It is alleged Mr Adamo 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 fail 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.

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The FWO is seeking penalties. Local Builders Direct faces a maximum penalty of up to $33,300 and Mr Adamo faces a penalty of up to $6,660 for allegedly failing to comply with the Compliance Notice.

The regulator is also seeking an order for the company to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying the alleged underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 2 June 2022.

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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