The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a penalty in court against the operator of a hairdressing salon in NSW.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a $4,000 penalty against Tanya Louise Cooper-Green, a sole trader who operates a business under the name Jagged Edge Hair Design and a hairdressing salon at Port Macquarie trading as ‘T.L.C By the Sea’.
The penalty was imposed in response to Ms Cooper-Green failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring her to back-pay a worker who was employed full-time as a hairdresser at the salon between January 2019 and January 2021, when she was aged 23 to 25. In addition to the penalty, the Court has ordered Ms Cooper-Green to fully rectify the $7,686 underpayment of the worker, plus superannuation and interest. To date, the worker has been only partially back-paid.
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.”
The FWO investigated after receiving a request for assistance from the affected worker.
The Compliance Notice was issued in March 2021 after an inspector formed a belief that the worker had been underpaid minimum wages, Saturday penalty rates and annual leave entitlements under the Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010.
Judge Douglas Humphreys found that the matter involved a young worker suffering significant loss and there was a need to impose a penalty to deter other employers from similar conduct.
“The Court is aware of what appears to be a culture of significant non-compliance with minimum wage payments in some industries,” Judge Humphreys said.
“The Court needs to send clear signals to the business community that wage theft will not be tolerated by this Court, and that the cost of engaging in such activity will result in a penalty that is significant.”