Former automotive repair operator back in court

30 March 2022

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action for a second time against the former operator of an automotive repair and service business in Melbourne.

Facing court is C & G Smith Enterprises Pty Ltd, which formerly operated a Rapid Tune franchise outlet in Keysborough.

The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a young worker who had been employed by C & G Smith Enterprises as a full-time junior apprentice mechanic between February 2020 and February 2021 when he was aged 22 and 23. 

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to the company in October 2021 after forming a belief that the worker had not been paid all entitlements owed under the Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award 2020 and the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards. 

It is alleged the worker was underpaid the full-time junior apprentice minimum wage and overtime rates and was not paid accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements at the end of his employment.

The FWO alleges C & G Smith Enterprises, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it 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. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking a penalty against C & G Smith Enterprises Pty Ltd. The company faces a penalty of up to $33,300 for allegedly failing to comply with the Compliance Notice.

The regulator is also seeking an order for the company to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying any underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest. A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 14 April 2022.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s first litigation against C & G Smith Enterprises, commenced in 2021, remains before the Court. 

Employers and employees can visit or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50. Small businesses can find targeted resources at the Small Business Showcase.  

NOTE: Rapid Tune Keysborough now has new operators. The Fair Work Ombudsman makes no allegations against the current operators of the business.

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Claire Low, Senior Media Adviser
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