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Non-compliance with FWC orders = fines of up to $51,000
Monday, 16th February 2015, by Loran McDougall

In today's Workplace Bulletin:
  • Employers face fines for failing to comply with FWC orders
Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) is Australia’s independent workplace relations tribunal, established under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
If the FWC issues you with an order or directive, you must comply with it, or risk a strict penalty.
For example:
  • you could be sentenced up to 6 months’ imprisonment if you fail to appear before the FWC as required, including if you fail to:
    • be sworn in or make a formal declaration as required; and
    • answer questions or produce documents required, unless you have a reasonable excuse;
  • you risk an imprisonment of up to 12 months if you fail to comply with an FWC order (note that this does not apply to all orders, such as bargaining orders); and
  • you could be imprisoned for up to 12 months if you give false or misleading evidence to the FWC, or induce, threaten or intimidate a witness to give false or misleading evidence.
You may also face financial penalties, as Charles Power explains below.
Until next time,
Jessica Oldfield
Loran McDougall
Workplace Bulletin
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Employers face fines for failing to comply 

with FWC orders
by Charles Power
Editor-in-Chief, Employment Law Practical Handbook

This month, a Canberra business faces the Federal Circuit Court for failing to comply with an FWC order to pay compensation to an employee who was unfairly dismissed.
The order to pay $7,650 to the employee was made last August. When the employee did not receive the payout within the 14-day deadline, he lodged a complaint with the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). After an unsuccessful attempt to get the employer to comply with the order, the FWO lodged the court action on the employee’s behalf.

The employer now faces a penalty of $10,200, and his business could also be fined $51,000.
But this wasn’t the only business to face fines for failing to pay compensation last year. In the first court action in response to an FWC order to pay compensation for unfair dismissal, a business and its director were fined close to $50,000. The compensation they were ordered to pay was only $2,200.
In this case, too, the FWO issued notices to the employer after it failed to pay the compensation, but handed down the fine after it continued to “wilfully ignore” the order.
These cases serve as a reminder to all employers that failure to comply with FWC orders will not be taken lightly.
In the words of Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James, “Compliance is fundamental for the integrity of the workplace relations system and employers should be aware that we are prepared to take action where appropriate.”
Charles Power
Charles Power

Employment Law Practical Handbook

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