Husband and wife sentenced to respect employment rights of bankrupt company | The Phoenix on top of the hills

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Winding up a business will not necessarily prevent husbands and wives from paying employee arrears out of pocket.

In FWO v Sinpek Pty Ltd (In Liquidation) & Ors [2020] FCCA 88, the national labor regulator, obtained orders against a manager and his spouse to personally reimburse $ 52,722.48 to two underpaid workers.

The Fair Work Ombudsman proved various underpayments and other workplace violations between January 8, 2015 and August 10, 2016, which included requirements for employees to reimburse their tax returns to the employer and to cover the stolen fuel costs.

The success of the FWO lies in its use of the civil liability provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009, which extend exposure to breaches of the “civil remedies provisions” to anyone “involved” or “knowingly affected” in the infringement. traffic ticket. To be knowingly affected by a contravention, the person must have engaged in an act or conduct that “involves or implicates” him in the contravention so that there is a “practical connection between” the person and the fine.

An analysis of historical cases initiated by FWO shows a constant tendency to continue to name individuals as second, third or fourth defendant in legal proceedings (including accountants and human resources managers, for example).

Civil liability does not end with cases of underpayment either. Any violation of a civil remedy provision in the Fair Work Act, including unlawful dismissals, empowers a claimant to determine whether an individual should also be held responsible. Plus, you’re unlikely to be forgiven if you were just following your supervisor’s orders. For example, in FWBII v Baulderstone Pty Ltd [2014] FCCA 721, two human resources officials were found guilty after complying with an employer’s instruction to terminate an employee’s salary contract because the employee resigned from his CFMEU membership.

When in doubt, always seek advice from a qualified professional.


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