The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a $3,500 penalty in court against the former operator of a pizza outlet in the Barossa Valley region of South Australia.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed the penalty against Mr Ziad Andary, who operated a takeaway business called ‘The Valley Pizza’ in Nuriootpa.
The penalty was imposed in response to Mr Andary breaching the Fair Work Act by failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring him to calculate entitlements owed to an employee and back-pay any underpayment.
In August 2021, the court ordered Mr Andary to undertake the steps required by the Compliance Notice.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face court-imposed penalties on top of having to back-pay workers.
“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” Ms Parker said.
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”
Judge Stewart Brown said in his written judgment, “The general public has an interest in ensuring prompt and effective compliance with any breach of the industrial regime when it comes to light.”
“I am satisfied that [the Fair Work Inspector] made every reasonable effort to explain the purposes of the Notice to Mr Andary with a view to ensuring [the worker] received his due entitlements expeditiously,” Judge Brown said.
“Mr Andary entirely rebuffed her efforts, which exacerbates the seriousness of the offending conduct,” Judge Brown said.
The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from an employee who had worked as a casual fast food employee at the outlet.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice in May 2020 after forming a belief that Mr Andary had underpaid the employee their entitlements under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010.
The inspector believed the employee had been underpaid minimum wages applicable to casual employees and was also not paid weekend penalty rates and evening penalty rates under the award between June 2019 and February 2020.