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The hidden cost of not obeying the Fair Work Commission

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By James Sanders, Lawyer, MST Lawyers

In a recent decision, the Federal Circuit Court has fined a Melbourne business, and its former director, a total of $47,608, for ignoring a Fair Work Commission order to pay $2200 in unfair dismissal compensation. 

In January, Commissioner Lee ordered World Gym Sunshine to pay $2200 compensation, plus interest, to a receptionist who was unfairly dismissed. Despite the order, the receptionist contacted Fair Work Ombudsman advising she had not received her compensation payment.

After several notices were issued to World Gym, the Fair Work Ombudsman commenced proceedings against World Gym, at which Judge O’Sullivan ordered World Gym to pay a $41,182.50 fine, while the sole director was issued with a further $6426 in penalties.

In his ruling, the Judge said that ‘this was a small business, however, that is no excuse” and went on to state that “there is no evidence that the failure to comply with the FWC orders is not deliberate. Everything points to the likelihood that the first respondent until the commencement of these proceedings has wilfully ignored them.”

This case emphasises the need to comply with a Fair Work Commission order, irrespective of the amount, otherwise you might find yourself up against the Fair Work Ombudsman in the Federal Circuit Court.

If you are the subject of a Fair Work Commission hearing or order, and are not sure of your requirements and obligations,please contact the Employment Law and Workplace Safety team by email workplace@mst.com.au or by telephone +61 8540 0200