The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operators of a financial advisory service based in Parramatta, Sydney.
Facing court are Centennial Wealth and sole director Nevenka “Natasha” Lovric, after the regulator began an investigation when it received a request for assistance from a former worker.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Centennial Wealth in August 2021, after forming a belief that a worker engaged as a full-time co-ordinator of property investor relations had been underpaid entitlements owed under the Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2020 and the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.
Fair Work came to the conclusion that the employee, working between May 2019 and March 2020, had been underpaid annualised salary entitlements and did not receive, at the end of their employment, payment in lieu of notice and for accrued but untaken annual leave.
The FWO alleges Centennial Wealth, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to calculate and back-pay the employee’s entitlements. It is alleged Ms Lovric was involved in the contravention.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.
“Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees,” Ms Parker said.
“A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers.
"Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance.”
The FWO is seeking penalties against Centennial Wealth Pty Ltd and Ms Lovric for allegedly failing to comply with the Compliance Notice.
The maximum penalty for a company for failing to comply with a Compliance Notice is $33,300 per contravention and the maximum penalty for an individual is $6,660 per contravention.
The regulator is also seeking an order for Centennial Wealth Pty Ltd to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying any underpayments in full, plus interest and superannuation.
A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Sydney on 17 June 2022.