Queensland florist faces court
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operator of a retail flower business in northern Queensland.
Facing court is Mirjana Popovic, a sole trader who operates Creative House Cairns, in Cairns.
The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker who was employed full-time at the business for about four weeks in January-February 2021.
The worker performed duties including selling flowers, picking flowers and cleaning the retail shop.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Ms Popovic in March 2021 after forming a belief that the worker had not been paid what she was owed under the General Retail Industry Award 2020 and the National Employment Standards.
The inspector formed a belief that the worker was underpaid minimum wages and annual leave entitlements.
The FWO alleges Ms Popovic, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice which required her to calculate and back-pay the worker’s 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.
Ms Popovic faces a maximum penalty of $6,660 for her alleged failure to comply with a Compliance Notice.
In addition to penalty, the regulator is seeking a court order for Ms Popovic to take the action required by the Compliance Notice, which includes calculating and rectifying any underpayment in full, plus superannuation and interest.
A directions hearing has been listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Brisbane on 1 November 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. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50. Small businesses can find targeted resources at the Small Business Showcase.