Record penalties have been obtained by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) against Macquarie Technology Group International Pty Ltd and owner Paul Desmond Wallace for failing to compensate an employee who was unfairly dismissed.
Wallace has been penalised $20,600 in the Federal Circuit Court, while his company has been penalised a further $105,000.
The Brisbane-based business engineers, distributes, installs and services wireless technology for radio communication.
In 2014, the Fair Work Commission ordered Wallace’s company to pay $20,769 compensation to an engineer it found had been unfairly dismissed, and later also ordered the company to pay the employee costs of $8,470.
However, after making multiple requests to pay the compensation and costs to the worker, the FWO took legal action against them for contravening the Fair Work Act by failing to comply with the Commission’s orders.
Ombudsman Sandra Parker said that $125,600 in total penalties is a record against an employer for failing to comply with an order to pay unfair dismissal compensation.
“The penalties obtained by the Fair Work Ombudsman send a strong message to businesses that there are serious consequences for failing to comply with Fair Work Commission Orders,” said Parker.
“It is fundamental for the integrity of the workplace relations system that orders are complied with and we will take legal action to ensure employees receive compensation.”
The Federal Circuit Court has also ordered Wallace’s company to pay the $29,239 in outstanding compensation and costs to the employee, plus interest of $5,646 – in addition to imposing penalties for contravening the Fair Work Act.
The Federal Court of Australia then dismissed appeals by Wallace’s company against the same orders in December 2016.
The Full Bench of the Commission dismissed appeals by Wallace’s company against the compensation and costs orders in 2015. The Court has also ordered Wallace’s company to pay the FWO $2,678 in legal costs.
It is the second time the FWO has secured penalties against Wallace and Macquarie Technology Group International.
The FWO secured penalties totaling $6,380 against Wallace and the company in Court in 2011 for underpaying an employee almost $6,000. The underpayment was rectified only after the FWO initiated legal action.