Brisbane engineering company penalised

12 March 2024

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured $18,500 in penalties in court against a Brisbane-based structural engineering company and its director.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a penalty of $16,500 against Incode Engineers Pty Ltd, based in Fortitude Valley, and a $2,000 penalty against company director Thomas Marxson.

The penalties were imposed in response to Incode Engineers failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring it to back-pay two workers it employed between May and August, 2021. Mr Marxson was involved in the contravention.

One worker was a full-time engineer and the other was a part-time administration officer.

While Incode Engineers partially rectified its underpayments in respect of one of the affected workers prior to the commencement of proceedings, the second worker’s underpayments remained outstanding until after the Fair Work Ombudsman had commenced legal action.

Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face penalties in court on top of having to back-pay workers.

“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we will continue to take legal action. Employers who fail to act on these notices risk substantial penalties and back-pay orders,” Ms Booth said.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”

The FWO investigated after receiving requests for assistance from the affected workers.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Incode Engineers in December 2021 after forming a belief the company had underpaid the workers’ wages, annual leave entitlements and payment-in-lieu-of-notice-of-termination entitlements, owed under the Professional Employees Award 2020, the Clerks - Private Sector Award 2020 and the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

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.

The FWO provides a free online course to help employers understand what a Compliance Notice is and how to respond if they get one. The Compliance Notice course, among a suite of free interactive courses on offer for employers, managers and employees, is available in our online learning centre.

Small businesses can find targeted resources at the Small Business Showcase.

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