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The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a total of $19,980 in penalties in court against the operators of a motor vehicle repair business in Adelaide.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a $16,650 penalty against Skyjohn Pty Ltd, which operates a business trading as Supreme Crash Repairs in Dudley Park, and a $3,330 penalty against the company’s sole director, Peter Albert Robinson.

The penalty was imposed in response to Skyjohn Pty Ltd failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring it to back-pay entitlements to a worker it employed as a spray painter between March 2020 and March 2021. Mr Robinson was involved in the contravention.

The court has also ordered the company to fully comply with the Compliance Notice by back-paying the worker an outstanding amount of $1,019.

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated after receiving a request for assistance from the affected worker.

The Compliance Notice was issued in May 2021 after a Fair Work inspector formed a belief that the worker was not paid accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements at the end of his employment, as required under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

Judge Stewart Brown found that the Compliance Notice has been “entirely disregarded” and that there was a need to impose penalties to deter Skyjohn and other employers from similar conduct in future.

“The court should consider a significant penalty as a matter of both general and specific deterrence, given the interest the community has in ensuring that there is compliance with relevant legislation, and protecting the rights of employees to be paid what they are entitled,” Judge Brown said.

“A message must be sent to the proprietors of small cottage-type industries, in which employees are isolated from their colleagues and so vulnerable to exploitation through a lack of knowledge, of the importance of prompt and complete rectification of any breaches of the industrial safety net.”

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