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The Federal Circuit Court has imposed an unprecedented injunction restraining a NSW hairdresser from underpaying any staff he employs in the future.

The Court has also imposed penalties totalling $162,000, following legal action initiated by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Nelvin Nitesh Lal, who formerly ran hairdressing salons in Sydney and on the Central and South Coast of NSW, has been fined $20,000.

In addition, penalties amounting to $142,000 have been imposed against Lal’s businesses, including:

> $80,000 against NSW Central Coast business Hair Industrie Erina Pty Ltd,

> $40,000 against Sydney business House of Colour @ Hurstville Pty Ltd, and

> $22,000 against NSW South Coast business The House of Colour @ Shellharbour Pty Ltd.

Following unprecedented action by the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Court has also issued an Order restraining Lal from underpaying any hairdressing employees he recruits in the future.

Lal could potentially face contempt of court proceedings for any further underpayments proven in Court.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell says the injunction was sought in response to the Agency’s concern about a pattern of non-compliant behaviour.

The Agency has received a number of requests for assistance from young, vulnerable workers at Lal’s salons.

“Young workers can be vulnerable if they are not fully aware of their rights or are reluctant to seek help, so we place a high priority on taking action to ensure their rights are protected,” Mr Campbell said.

The Court found that four employees had been underpaid a total of more than $6000, including:

> An employee aged in her early 20s at Hair Industrie Erina, underpaid $4189 as a result of being paid a flat weekly rate regardless of the hours she worked, which resulted in underpayment of her minimum wages and weekend and overtime penalty rates.

> An employee at House of Colour @ Hurstville paid nothing for seven days of work, but entitled to receive $1224 in wages and entitlements, and

> Two employees at Shellharbour underpaid a total of $765, including a 19-year-old employee unlawfully being paid nothing for two full days of work performed on a trial basis and an employee in her early 20s paid only $250 for five full days of work.

The underpayments occurred at various periods of time between June, 2012 and September, 2013.

Workplace laws relating to issuing of payslips and responding to a Compliance Notice were also breached.

Source: Media Release, Fair Work Ombudsman 16 April 2015

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