Residential construction company in court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has taken legal action against the operators of a construction company which builds residential homes in Melbourne.

Facing the court are Designer Projects Victoria Pty Ltd, trading as ‘Designer Projects’ in Melton, and one of the company’s directors, Visna Thanthrige.

The regulator investigated after receiving a request for help from a worker who had been employed by Designer Projects Victoria as a full-time construction site supervisor between November 2020 and September 2021.

A Fair Work inspector issued a notice of compliance to Designer Projects Victoria in November 2021 after believing the worker had not received all rights due under the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2020 and Fair Work Act.

It is alleged that the worker was not paid 220 hours of accrued but unused annual leave upon termination of his employment.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that Designer Projects Victoria, without a reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the compliance notice, which required it to calculate and reimburse the worker’s entitlements. A violation of payslip laws is also alleged.

It is alleged that Mr. Thanthrige was involved in the tickets.

Fair Labor Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator will continue to enforce labor laws and take companies to court when legal demands are not met.

“If employers fail to comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a company to pay penalties in addition to workers’ back wages.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or rights should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance,” Ms Parker said.

The FWO is calling for sanctions. Designer Projects Victoria faces a fine of up to $33,300 and Mr. Thanthrige faces a fine of up to $6,660 for allegedly failing to comply with the Notice of Compliance.

Additionally, the company faces a fine of up to $66,000 and Mr. Thanthrige faces a fine of up to $13,320 for the alleged pay stub violation.

The regulator is also seeking an order for Designer Projects Victoria to comply with the compliance notice, which includes full rectification of the alleged underpayments, plus interest.

A directions hearing is scheduled at the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on May 24, 2022.

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