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Ignoring unfair dismissal ruling lands business in court

Ignoring unfair dismissal ruling lands business in court

An electrical contractor found guilty of unfairly dismissing an employee has risked compounding its troubles by allegedly ignoring an order to compensate the individual.

Queensland-based Logan City Electrical Service Division and its sole director Peter Burnitt are the subject of new legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).

The FWO is alleging the business and Mr Burnitt has not paid the worker the $21,505 in compensation demanded by the Fair Work Commission, which found the former refrigeration and airconditioning mechanic had been unfairly dismissed in 2017 after almost five years with the company.

On 21 July 2017, Logan City Electrical Service Division was ordered to reimburse the worker $19,640 gross, as well as make a 9.5 per cent superannuation contribution on that amount.

In making the judgement, the Fair Work Commission heard that the individual was told by his manager to “take a couple of days off” while the company investigated an allegation the worker had been caught doing a cash job one weekend. This cash job, the business claimed, amounted to stealing.

Despite disputing the claim, the worker agreed to take several days off and await a response from the business, but none was forthcoming. Repeated attempts to receive a separation certificate were also to no avail.

Mr Burnitt did not attend the hearing, despite numerous attempts to contact him prior.

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Since the verdict was handed down, the former employee has still not received the required payments.

According to the FWO, not complying with an order by the commission is an offense, one which carries penalties of up to $12,600 for individual directors and $63,000 for businesses.

“The Fair Work Commission is a fundamental part of the workplace relations system and it is contemptuous for parties bound by obligations [to] its orders to ignore them,” said Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James.

“Those parties need to take their obligations under the orders seriously and need to know that the FWO will take action to uphold them.”

The Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane is scheduled to hear the case on 25 June.

Ignoring unfair dismissal ruling lands business in court
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