The Federal Circuit Court has penalised Brisbane labour hire company ADADN Pty Ltd $33,300 for failing to provide documents during separate ABCC investigations into alleged underpayment of wages and unlawful industrial action.
The ABCC’s investigation into alleged underpayment of wages was triggered following an anonymous complaint that the company was not paying its workers their correct superannuation and redundancy entitlements.
As part of its investigation the ABCC issued a statutory notice requiring the company to provide records of payments to its workers.
The second notice issued to ADADN arose out of a separate investigation into unlawful industrial action following allegations that some of its workers engaged on an ACT project allegedly withdrew their labour.
ADADN’s failure to comply with the notices hindered the ABCC’s ability to progress both investigations.
In penalising ADADN $33,000 the Court found it had contravened subsection 77(3) of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 by failing to comply with the notices. The Court also ordered the company to pay the ABCC’s legal costs.
In setting penalties, the Court said:
“The Court considers that it is appropriate that pecuniary penalties in the current matter are fixed in amounts at the higher end of the range open to be ordered by the Court by reason of the respondent’s lack of co-operation, and its wanton disregard of compliance with statutory notices duly issued to it.”
ABCC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said ADADN and its sole director had an extensive history of non-compliance, including:
- Allowing its Work Cover insurance to lapse and leaving workers uninsured
- Failure to respond to a statutory notice requiring the company to provide information, and
- The ongoing failure to comply with the orders of the Fair Work Commission to pay compensation to a worker, after unfairly dismissing them.
“The repeated failure by ADADN Pty Ltd to comply with statutory notices issued by our Inspectors is conduct that the ABCC takes seriously. The penalties reflect the gravity of this matter. We will not turn a blind eye to flagrant contraventions of the law.
“ADADN is a serial offender. The Court noted its significant regulatory failures and contraventions in in its judgment. In a previous case brought by the Fair Work Ombudsman against ADADN and its sole director, the Federal Circuit Court observed that the respondents had demonstrated a complete lack of respect to the regulator and the Fair Work Commission.
“The ABCC is committed to recovering wages for underpaid workers. We will investigate complaints where workers allege they have been underpaid and we will take whatever action is necessary and appropriate when respondents such as ADADN fail to comply with statutory notices or lawful directions that hinder our inspectors from undertaking those investigations.”
Employers and employees can visit abcc.gov.au or call us on 1800 003 338 for free advice and assistance about their rights and obligations in the workplace. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.