A hospitality business and its director have been hit with a $36,000 fine after they “snubbed their noses” at the FWC by failing to comply on time with orders to pay an unfairly sacked barista $5780 compensation.
The FWC in September last year gave G & G Group Trading Pty Ltd three weeks to pay $5100 plus $680 superannuation to the former head barista of Brisbane’s now-closed Bar Spritz, to compensate her for unfair dismissal.
When an FWO inspector contacted the business about its non-compliance with the order, its sole director confirmed he had read the FWC’s decision but allegedly said: “I don’t care about breaching the act” and “the FWO can come after me”.
The director said his businesses had closed and he was a 69-year-old pensioner with no money, but he did not believe the barista deserved compensation anyway.
He told the inspector in November last year that “you cannot get more blood from a stone” but said he might be able to propose a payment plan of $150 a month.
However, the director was apparently unwilling to contact the barista to see if she agreed.
G & G Group ultimately paid the full sum in June this year.
Federal Circuit and Family Court Judge Salvatore Vasta said the payment came almost nine months’ late, after the FWO commenced legal action and G & G Group obtained proper legal advice.
He said the “gravamen of the contravention of the FW Act is that [G & G Group and the director] have ‘snubbed their noses’ at the authority of the FWC”.
The director had “acknowledged that he had read the judgement of the FWC and understood the order that had been made but, to all intents and purposes, intended to ignore it”, the judge continued.
Noting the director “questioned the authority of the FWC and disparaged the ‘deservedness’ that [the barista] had to obtain an award” from the tribunal, Judge Vasta said he “even dared the FWO to take action against him to enforce the order of the FWC”.