Former real estate agency operators penalised

13 May 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a total of $63,000 in penalties in court against the former operators of a Stockdale & Leggo Werribee real estate agency.

The Federal Circuit Court has imposed $53,550 in penalties against Jenni International Pty Ltd, which operated the agency in south-west Melbourne until November 2019, and $9,450 in additional penalties against the company’s sole director Ms Pui San Lee.

The penalties were imposed in response to the company and Ms Lee breaching workplace laws by failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring back-payment for an underpaid worker and providing a Fair Work Inspector with a false or misleading document.

In addition to the penalties, the Court has ordered Jenni International to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes calculating and rectifying the underpayment in full, plus superannuation and interest.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices risk 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.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman issued a Compliance Notice to Jenni International last year after forming a belief the company had failed to pay a former employee, who managed rental properties, for her final two days of work and some personal leave and annual leave entitlements.

After a Fair Work Inspector wrote to Jenni International informing the company it had failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, the company and Ms Lee provided the Inspector with a medical certificate purporting to show Ms Lee was seen in hospital in Malaysia after the Compliance Notice was issued. However, Ms Lee was in Australia at the time.

The Court found the company and Ms Lee breached workplace laws by providing the Inspector with a false or misleading document.

It is the second time the Fair Work Ombudsman has secured Court-ordered penalties against Jenni International. Penalties in the first matter were imposed in November 2020.

Employers and employees can visit 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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Media inquiries:

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

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