A Queensland electrical contracting company has been penalised more than $40,000 for ignoring Fair Work Commission orders.
The Federal Circuit Court penalised Peter Burnitt $6,552, and his company, Logan City Electrical Service Division, $32,760.
Burnitt ignored an order to compensate an employee he unfairly dismissed.
Company penalised for ignoring Fair Work Commission orders
26 year-old Christopher Antonarakis worked for the company for five years as a refrigeration and air-conditioning mechanic.
In 2017, Burnitt sacked him for allegedly doing a “cashy” job out of work hours.
However, the Fair Work Commission subsequently found he had been helping a family friend fix a pool fence.
The Commission found Burnitt failed to give Antronarakis an opportunity to respond to the allegations against him.
Therefore, it ruled the dismissal harsh, unreasonable and unjust.
It consequently ordered Logan Electrical Services to pay him $21,505 compensation.
The Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action against the company after it failed to pay the compensation by mid-last year.
Commission orders are not optional
Miles Heffernan from Fair Work Claims says employers ignore orders from the Fair Work Commission at their peril.
“Employers don’t get to decide whether or not to pay compensation ordered by the Commission,” he said.
“Therefore, if you decide to ignore orders, you will find yourself in court and paying hefty penalties, which is exactly what happened in this case.
“Instead of paying the worker the 20 grand compensation, Mr Burnitt now has to fork out an additional 40 grand in penalties.
“That’s a very expensive and very stupid way to run a business.”
Soon after the Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action, Logan City Electrical Service Division paid the outstanding compensation.
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