Natural health services company in court
31 May 2021
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against a natural health services company.
Facing court is Vital Biology Pty Ltd, which operates at multiple locations across Australia, including at North Parramatta in western Sydney.
The regulator commenced an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker who had been employed part-time as a cleaner at the North Parramatta outlet.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Vital Biology in January 2021 after forming a belief the employee had not been paid any wages for work she performed between 17 February and 4 March 2020.
The employee was allegedly owed minimum wages under the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010.
The FWO alleges the company without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to pay the worker’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 Vital Biology Pty Ltd. The company faces a penalty of up to $33,300.
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 9 July 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.
Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman @fairwork_gov_au or find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/fairwork.gov.au .
Sign up to receive the Fair Work Ombudsman’s media releases direct to your email inbox at www.fairwork.gov.au/mediareleases.
Ryan Pedler, Assistant Director - Media
Mobile: 0411 430 902
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