The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against a company operating a hair and beauty supplies store and salon.
Facing court is Advanced North West Holdings Pty Ltd, which operates the store and salon in Tamworth, NSW under the name Glamour Kingdom, and the company’s director Juanita Poleniak.
The regulator commenced an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a former worker who had been employed as a casual hairdresser.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to the company in December 2020 after forming a belief the employee had been underpaid minimum wages for ordinary hours and Sunday penalty rates, owed under the Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010, for work she performed between 25 October 2020 and 16 November 2020.
The FWO alleges the company, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice which required it to calculate and back-pay the employee’s outstanding entitlements.
In line with the FWO’s proportionate approach to regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FWO made several attempts to secure voluntary compliance before commencing legal action.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.
“Compliance Notices are important tools used by inspectors to deal with apparent contraventions of the Fair Work Act or industrial instruments, most typically Modern Awards,” Ms Parker said.
“Where employers do not respond to or comply with these Notices, we will take appropriate enforcement action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties for not complying with such a Notice, in addition to back-paying workers as appropriate.”
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance.”
The FWO is seeking a penalty against Advanced North West Holdings Pty Ltd and Ms Poleniak. The company faces a penalty of up to $33,300 and Ms Poleniak faces penalties of up to $6,660.
The regulator is also seeking orders for the company to take the action required to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying the alleged underpayment in full, plus superannuation and interest.
A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on 3 August 2021.