Melbourne Residential Building Company Penalised

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured $19,800 in penalties in court against a Melbourne-based residential building company and its sole director.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a penalty of $16,500 against JACZ Holdings Pty Ltd, which is based in Heidelberg Heights, and a $3,300 penalty against company director and shareholder Christo Douvos.

The penalties were imposed in response to JACZ Holdings failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring the back-payment of a young apprentice bricklayer it employed between March 2020 and January 2022. Mr Douvos was involved in the contravention.

In addition to the penalties, the Court has ordered JACZ Holdings to take the action required by the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying the underpayment in full, plus interest and superannuation.

Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face penalties in court on top of having to back-pay workers.

“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we will continue to take legal action. Employers who fail to act on these notices risk substantial penalties and back-pay orders,” Ms Booth said.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”

The FWO investigated after receiving a request for assistance from the affected worker.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to JACZ Holdings in July 2022 after forming a belief the company had failed to reimburse the worker for training fees and underpaid his minimum apprentice rates, owed under the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010 and Building and Construction General On-site Award 2020.

Deputy Chief Judge Patrizia Mercuri found that it was relevant that Mr Douvos had experienced personal difficulties but noted there was no evidence about how those difficulties impacted the company’s ongoing failure to rectify its non-compliance with the Compliance Notice and that the alleged underpayment had still not been rectified.

“Moreover, the respondents have not produced any evidence that they have changed their systems or introduced different practices to ensure that a similar issue does not arise in the future,” Deputy Chief Judge Mercuri said.

Deputy Chief Judge Mercuri found that there was a need to deter others from similar conduct.

“It has been long accepted that a penalty must be set at a level which would encourage other employers to take timely action to comply with a compliance notice issued under the [Fair Work] Act by an inspector,” Deputy Chief Judge Mercuri said.

/Public Release. View in full here.