Dental clinic operator in court
11 February 2021
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against the operator of a dental clinic in Victoria.
Facing court is Helix Bianca Nominees Pty Ltd, which operates Seaford Dental Clinic.
The regulator investigated after receiving requests for assistance from two former employees.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to the company in October 2020 after forming a belief the two employees were underpaid entitlements owed under the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010.
The inspector believed that one worker, who was employed on a casual basis as a dental prosthetist between February 2019 and January 2020, was not paid weekday casual loading entitlements during their period of employment.
The inspector believed the other worker, who was employed as a full-time dental technician from April 2014 to April 2019, was not paid their accrued annual leave and leave loading entitlements when their employment ended.
The FWO alleges the company, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice. The notice required the company to calculate and back-pay the workers’ entitlements.
In line with the FWO’s proportionate approach to regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FWO attempted to secure voluntary compliance before commencing proceedings.
Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Jeremy O’Sullivan 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,” Mr O’Sullivan 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 Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking penalties. Helix Bianca Nominees Pty Ltd is facing a maximum penalty of $33,300 for failing to comply with the Compliance Notice.
The regulator is also seeking orders for the company to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying any underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest. A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne on 15 March 2021.
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.
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Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman @fairwork_gov_au or find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/fairwork.gov.au .
Ryan Pedler, Assistant Director - Media
Mobile: 0411 430 902
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