Electrical services business penalised

23 March 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured $12,500 in penalties in court against an electrical services business based in Brisbane.

The Federal Circuit Court has imposed a $10,000 penalty against Sphere 38 (BNE) Pty Ltd and a $2,500 penalty against company director Gregory Dale Johnston.

The penalties were imposed in response to Sphere 38 and Mr Johnston breaching the Fair Work Act by failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring the company to calculate and pay untaken annual leave entitlements owing to three former employees.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said companies that fail to act on Compliance Notices face court-imposed penalties in addition to having to back-pay underpaid staff.

“We make every effort to secure voluntary compliance with Compliance Notices but where they are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive all their lawful entitlements,” Ms Parker said.

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

Fair Work Inspectors commenced an investigation into Sphere 38 in 2020 after receiving requests for assistance from each of the affected employees.

The Compliance Notice was issued after a Fair Work Inspector formed a reasonable belief that the three employees, all full-time electricians, had not been paid their untaken annual leave entitlements upon finishing their employment.

Judge Gregory Egan found that the matter involved a “blatant” breach of workplace law and noted the three employees, who were cumulatively owed a total of $8,434.11, were back-paid only after the FWO commenced legal action.

“Such intentional failure to comply with a mandatory notice only after such time that the applicant commenced litigation ought to be reflected in the penalty imposed, in order to appropriately uphold the principle of general deterrence,” Judge Egan said.

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

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Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Assistant Director - Media
Mobile: 0411 430 902

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