The Federal Circuit Court has imposed an unprecedented injunction restraining a NSW hairdresser, who operates a business in Erina, from underpaying any staff he employs in the future.
The Court has also imposed penalties totalling $162,000, following legal action initiated by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Nelvin Nitesh Lal, who formerly ran hairdressing salons in Sydney and on the Central and South Coasts, has been fined $20,000.
In addition, penalties amounting to $142,000 have been imposed against Lal’s businesses, including $80,000 against Erina business Hair Industrie Erina Pty Ltd.
Lal could potentially face contempt of court proceedings for any further underpayments proven in Court.
Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said the injunction was sought in response to the Agency’s concern about a pattern of non-compliant behaviour.
The Agency has received a number of requests for assistance from young, vulnerable workers at Lal’s salons.
“Young workers can be vulnerable if they are not fully aware of their rights or are reluctant to seek help, so we place a high priority on taking action to ensure their rights are protected,” Mr Campbell said.
The Court found that four employees had been underpaid a total of more than $6,000, including an employee aged in her early 20s at Hair Industrie Erina was underpaid $4,189 as a result of being paid a fl at weekly rate regardless of the hours she worked, which resulted in underpayment of her minimum wages and weekend and overtime penalty rates.
The underpayments occurred at various periods of time between June 2012 and September 2013.
Workplace laws relating to issuing of payslips and responding to a Compliance Notice were also breached.
The Court has ordered Lal’s companies to rectify the underpayments of the workers, who have not received any back-pay.
Mr Campbell said Fair Work inspectors made extensive efforts to engage with Lal before placing the matter before the Court.
“Unfortunately, we were not able to secure sufficient co-operation, which is not acceptable,” he said.
“Our preference is to seek to work with employers to resolve issues co-operatively, but we will consider enforcement action when employers refuse to engage with inspectors.”
16 Apr 2015
Fair Work Ombudsman