Dentist faces court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operator of a dental practice at Ballina, in northern NSW.

Facing court is sole trader Andrew Richard Chapman, the operator of East Ballina Dental.

The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from a worker Dr Chapman had employed at his practice on a part-time basis as a dental assistant between October 2020 and July 2021, when she was aged 22-23.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Dr Chapman in November 2021 after forming a belief the worker had not been paid accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements at the end of her employment, owed under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Dr Chapman, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required him to calculate and back-pay the worker’s outstanding entitlements.

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.

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

The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking a penalty against Dr Chapman for allegedly failing to comply with the Compliance Notice. He faces a penalty of up to $6,660.

The regulator is also seeking an order for Dr Chapman to rectify the effect of his non-compliance with the Compliance Notice by paying the alleged underpayments in full, plus interest.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia in Brisbane on 30 January 2023.

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