A building subcontractor has been fined $145,000 and ordered to
backpay $150,000 to more than a dozen employees, after a finding
that the subcontractor used a labour hire company to attempt to
circumvent its employment obligations.
The Federal Court of Australia, in Director, Fair Work
Building Industry Inspectorate v Foxville Projects Group Pty
Ltd  FCA 492 (21 May 2015), found that the subcontractor,
Foxville Projects Group, underpaid employees and failed to credit
their annual leave, personal leave and other entitlements. Further,
the subcontractor maintained insufficient records and neglected to
provide employees with a Fair Work Information Statement. Many of
those employees were vulnerable in the sense that they did not
speak fluent English which, according to Flick J, made
Foxville's failure to inform them of their legal rights as
required under section 125 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
Justice Flick considered that various factors were relevant to the
assessment of penalty. His Honour found that Foxville had adopted a
"cavalier attitude" to its workplace obligations, and
distanced itself from employees via a labour hire company which it
did not supervise and which had minimal involvement with the
employees. This increased the assessment of Foxville's
culpability. Further, Flick J took into account the need to deter
Foxville specifically and other employers generally from failing to
comply with their workplace obligations and distancing themselves
from employees to avoid their obligations via labour hire
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The commissioner found that the worker was fit to return to his work as a driver, as recommended by the medical evidence.
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