Manager of food truck manufacturer penalised

4 August 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a penalty in the Federal Circuit Court against the manager of a Melbourne business that built custom food trailers, vans and trucks.

The Federal Circuit Court has imposed a penalty of $4,410 against Mr Yener Gelgel, manager of Craigieburn-based company Mobile Food Vans & Trucks Pty Ltd.

The penalty was imposed in response to Mr Gelgel’s involvement in the company’s failure to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring the calculation and back-payment of entitlements to a former sheet metal worker, who was a visa holder from India.

Mobile Food Vans & Trucks Pty Ltd was placed into external administration after the Federal Circuit Court declared in April that the company had failed to comply with the Compliance Notice and that Mr Gelgel was involved in that breach.

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 back-payments.

“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to protect employees’ lawful entitlements,” Ms Parker said.

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

In a written penalty judgment, Judge John O’Sullivan said the failure to comply with the Compliance Notice is “serious”.

“The [Fair Work Ombudsman] submitted, and I accept, that the penalties that should be imposed on [Mr Gelgel] must be at an amount that shows that this behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the Court, and also to serve as a deterrent to any future contravenors,” his Honour said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated after receiving a request for assistance from the former employee.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice in April 2020 after forming a belief that Mobile Food Vans & Trucks Pty Ltd had underpaid the employee their entitlements under the Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award 2010 and the Fair Work Act 2009.

The inspector believed the employee had been underpaid his minimum wages for ordinary hours, overtime and annual leave entitlements during two periods of his employment – between May and June 2018, and between March and August in 2019.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has an agreement with the Department of Home Affairs, called the Assurance Protocol, where visa holders with work rights can ask for our help without fear of their visa being cancelled. Information and conditions are available at our webpage for visa holder workers.

Employers and employees can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance about their rights and obligations in the workplace. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman @fairwork_gov_au External link icon or find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/fairwork.gov.au External link icon.

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Media inquiries:

Matthew Raggatt, Assistant Media Director (A/g)
Mobile: 0466 470 507
matthew.raggatt@fwo.gov.au

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