Residential construction company in court

11 May 2022

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operators of a construction company that builds residential homes in Melbourne.

Facing court are Designer Projects Victoria Pty Ltd, trading as ‘Designer Projects’ in Melton, and one of the company’s directors, Visna Thanthrige.

The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from a worker who had been employed by Designer Projects Victoria as a full-time construction site supervisor between November 2020 and September 2021.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Designer Projects Victoria in November 2021 after forming a belief the worker had not been paid all entitlements owed under the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2020 and the Fair Work Act.

It is alleged the worker was not paid 220 hours in accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements when his employment ended.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Designer Projects Victoria, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to calculate and back-pay the worker’s entitlements. A breach of pay slip laws is also alleged.

It is alleged Mr Thanthrige 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. Designer Projects Victoria faces a penalty of up to $33,300 and Mr Thanthrige faces a penalty of up to $6,660 for allegedly failing to comply with the Compliance Notice.

In addition, the company faces a penalty of up to $66,000 and Mr Thanthrige faces a penalty of up to $13,320 for the alleged pay slips contravention.

The regulator is also seeking an order for Designer Projects Victoria to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying the alleged underpayments in full, plus interest.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 24 May 2022.

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.

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Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Assistant Director - Media
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