A Melbourne real estate agency is facing court for allegedly underpaying a rental property manager.
The Fair Work Ombudsman also accuses the agency of ignoring a Compliance Notice requiring the owner to back-pay the employee.
Melbourne real estate agency in court
Facing the Federal Circuit Court are the former operators of the Stockdale & Leggo real estate agency in Werribee.
They are Jenni International Pty Ltd, in addition to the company’s sole director, Ms Pui San Lee.
Following an investigation, a Fair Work inspector formed the belief that the agency failed to pay the former rental property manager for her final two days of work.
He also believed the company failed to pay the employee some personal and annual leave entitlements.
The regulator issued Jenni International with a Compliance Notice earlier this year, requiring it to calculate and back-pay the outstanding entitlements.
However, the regulator alleges the company failed to comply with the Notice.
Fair Work also alleges that after it wrote to Lee informing her she had failed to comply, she provided a false medical certificate.
The medical certificate purported to show Lee had been in hospital in Malaysia after the Compliance Notice was issued.
However, it is alleged that Lee had been in Australia at the time.
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Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan says there is no excuse for underpaying employees.
“Employers have a legal obligation to ensure they pay correct wages and entitlements,” he said.
“A Compliance Notice is a chance to rectify any underpayments without additional penalties – ignore them at your peril, and cost.”
As a result of the alleged breaches, Fair Work is seeking penalties against Jenni International and Lee.
For the alleged Compliance Notice breach, the company faces a maximum penalty of $31,500 and Lee $6,300.
For the alleged false document breach, the company faces an additional maximum penalty of $63,000 while Lee faces an additional maximum penalty of $12,600.
Fair Work is also seeking court orders requiring the agency to rectify the underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.
The Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne has a directions hearing listed on 4 December 2020.
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