Three former workers at Perth International Airport and their former employer are the focus of a push by the Fair Work Ombudsman to enforce termination payment provisions.
Integrated facilities services provider Spotless Services Australia has been accused by the Ombudsman of breaching workplace laws by failing to pay almost $30,000 in redundancy entitlements to the three workers.
The trio were among 30 workers let go after the airport did not renew its catering and hospitality services contract with Spotless.
One had worked with the company as an administration and accounts manager for 32 years, while the other two had various roles over around 4.5 years.
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) claimed that collectively the three were entitled to redundancy entitlements of $29,013.
Spotless has since paid the three workers but refuses to admit liability, according to the FWO.
Ombudsman Natalie James said the FWO will be taking the matter to the Federal Court, in a test case to provide “greater clarity” around the legal obligations of employers.
“Federal Court consideration of this area of the law will serve to provide greater guidance to employers as to situations in which redundancy entitlements must be paid and situations in which Centrelink must be notified,” said Ms James.
If Spotless is found guilty of breaching the law, it faces penalties of up to $51,000 for each contravention. Spotless has been contacted for comment.
The case is slated for hearing in the Federal Court in Perth on Friday, 16 March this year.
Sadly it is far from the first time that an SME has found itself in limbo because of unclear provisions. A Brisbane barber shop was accused of discrimination against women after denying service to a female customer on the basis of her gender.
However, the store’s management were aghast at such accusations, and said its hands were tied by a non-compete clause in its lease agreement which forced it to restrict the provision of its services.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.