Perth construction business in court

25 October 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operators of a construction company in WA.

Facing court are Utility Five Pty Ltd, which operates an on-site building, engineering and civil construction business trading as Metro Civil WA at Baldivis, and the company’s owner and sole director Brian Edward Johnson.

The regulator began an investigation after receiving requests for assistance from two workers, employed by the company as a drilling supervisor and a driller, before their employment ended in November 2020 and February 2021.

Fair Work Inspectors issued two Compliance Notices to Utility Five Pty Ltd earlier this year after forming a belief the workers had not been paid accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements at the conclusion of their employment.

The FWO alleges the company, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notices, which required it to calculate and back-pay workers’ entitlements. It is alleged Mr Johnson was involved in the contraventions.

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. Utility Five Pty Ltd faces a maximum penalty of up to $33,300 for each of the two alleged Compliance Notice contraventions and Mr Johnson faces a penalty of up to $6,600 for each alleged contravention.

The regulator is also seeking an order for the company to comply with the Compliance Notices, which includes rectifying any underpayments in full, plus interest and superannuation.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Perth today, 25 October 2021.

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

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Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Assistant Director - Media
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