January 2013 Industry Update

Serious penalties for misleading FWBC

There are monetary penalties under the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act) for failing to comply with a Fair Work Building Industry Inspector’s requirements, such as refusing to produce records or documents in response to a written notice. 

It can also be a criminal offence to obstruct a Fair Work Building Industry Inspector from conducting an investigation – currently the maximum penalty is two years’ jail or a $20,400 fine.

It can also be a criminal offence to produce false or misleading documents to a Fair Work Building Industry Inspector – currently the maximum penalty is 12 months’ jail or a $10,200 fine.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) was recently successful in prosecuting a glazing business manager who produced false tax invoices to a Fair Work Building Industry Inspector and urged a worker to hinder FWBC’s investigation by providing scripted answers.

The manager pleaded guilty and was convicted and fined $3000.

FWBC referred the breaches of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Criminal Code) to the CDPP as it is the agency that prosecutes criminal workplace law breaches. The offences did not fall under the FW Act or any other codes that FWBC regulates.

This is a timely reminder of the seriousness of misleading Commonwealth officials.

Under s137 of the Criminal Code, a person is guilty of providing false or misleading information or documents if they knowingly provide false or misleading documents or information to a Commonwealth official.

Under s149 of the Criminal Code, a person is guilty of obstructing a Commonwealth official if they hinder, obstruct, intimidate or resist someone they know to be a public official in the performance of the official’s functions.

If a Fair Work Building Industry Inspector requests that you produce documents or information, FWBC strongly advises that you comply with that request because there are serious penalties if you are found to be in breach of the FW Act and even more serious penalties if you breach the criminal law. Any suspected breaches of criminal law will be referred to the relevant authorities.

Further information

Media release – Glazing business manager convicted after misleading FWBC

Criminal Code Act 1995

FWBC Litigation Policy

FWBC Investigative Process

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