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Owen Jennings (Read 381 times)
Reply #1 - 20. Aug 2017 at 12:18

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https://www.fairwork.gov.au/about-us/news-and-media-releases/2016-media-releases...

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A federal judge has imposed record penalties and a precedent-setting Court Order for a businessman to personally back-pay employees following a case involving the "calculated and deliberate" underpayment of security guards on the Gold Coast.

The penalties, totalling more than $308,000, are the highest achieved by the Fair Work Ombudsman in Queensland.

Businessman Owen Ivor Jennings has been penalised $51,400 and his company Step Ahead Security Services Pty Ltd has been penalised a further $257,000.

The Fair Work Ombudsman initiated legal proceedings against Jennings and his company for underpaying eight security guards a total of $22,779 over just three months in 2014.

Handing down his decision on Friday, Federal Circuit Court Judge Michael Jarrett issued an Order for Jennings to back-pay the money.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Mark Scully says that in situations where individual business owners and directors are directly responsible for underpaying employees, the Agency will seek Court Orders against them.

"Unfortunately, there are some rogue business operators who think they can short-change their staff and get away with it by liquidating their companies and hiding behind a corporate veil … so they should think again, as we will seek to hold them to account at every available opportunity," Mr Scully said.

"We are committed to building a culture of compliance with workplace laws in Australia and creating a level playing field for employers who are doing the right thing and meeting their workplace obligations."

The Fair Work Ombudsman sought an Order for Jennings to be personally liable for the outstanding employee entitlements after presenting evidence that a back-pay Order against Step Ahead Security Services could not be enforced because the company has been wound-up.

The Agency also revealed that previous investigations into underpayment allegations against one of Jennings’ former security companies were thwarted when the company was deregistered.

Jennings is a consultant to a new company, Tweed Coast Security Pty Ltd.

Judge Jarrett noted that Jennings was "the sole director of two previous companies offering security services that were each wound up, the second one in circumstances where there were complaints of outstanding remuneration owed to employed security guards that were not pursued following the employer's deregistration."

He also noted that Jennings was now operating a fourth security company out of the same premises previously used by Step Ahead Security Services.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has referred the matter to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

 

Ah! Working in Security where finding the real thief could be your employer. Now is the time to check your super account.
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20. Aug 2017 at 12:09

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Owen Jennings, the former director of now wound-up Gold Coast security operation Step Ahead Security Services, also faces a hefty personal penalty of $51,400 and wears the full brunt of yet another big win in the courts by the Fair Work Ombudsman in the past week.

The security company director, in addition to his penalty, has been made personally liable to back-pay eight employees almost $23,000.

That matter, with total combined penalties of $308,400, briefly held the title of the highest Fair Work Ombudsman penalty in Queensland but of even greater significance is the precedent set by the decision to make the director liable to back-pay wages.

It opens the door for the Fair Work Ombudsman to seek orders against any accessory in the labour supply chain – directors, contractors, franchisees and human resources managers included.
 

Ah! Working in Security where finding the real thief could be your employer. Now is the time to check your super account.
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