Construction business in court

21 October 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operators of a fence construction business in Goondiwindi, a Queensland town bordering NSW.

Facing court is Drillchan Pty Limited and its sole director Stephen John Warburton.

The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from a Netherlands citizen, in Australia on a working holiday visa, who Drillchan employed as a casual construction worker between April and July 2020.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to the company in November 2020 after forming a belief the worker had not been paid entitlements owed under the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010.

The inspector formed a belief the employee, paid a flat hourly rate, was underpaid minimum rates for ordinary hours, casual loading, overtime rates, and weekend and public holiday penalty rates.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Drillchan, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required the company to calculate and back-pay the employee’s outstanding entitlements.

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.

“Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers.”

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance,” Ms Parker said.

The FWO is seeking penalties against Drillchan Pty Limited and Mr Warburton. The company faces a maximum penalty of $33,300, while Mr Warburton faces a maximum penalty of $6,660.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking an order, in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Brisbane, for the company to take the action required by the Compliance Notice, including rectifying any underpayments in full to the worker, plus superannuation and interest.

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. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50. Small businesses can find targeted resources at the Small Business Showcase.

The FWO 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. Anonymous reports can be made in English and 16 other languages at www.fairwork.gov.au/tipoff.

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Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Assistant Director - Media
Mobile: 0411 430 902
ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au