Former real estate agency fined $63,000

A former real estate agency has been fined $63,000 in penalties for workplace law breaches.

The Fair Work Ombudsman secured the penalties against the former operators of a Stockdale & Leggo Werribee real estate agency in south-west Melbourne.

The Federal Circuit Court fined the operating company Jenni International Pty Ltd $53,550 and issued  $9,450 in additional penalties against the company’s sole director Ms Pui San Lee.

Lee failed to adhere to a Compliance Notice requiring back-payment for an underpaid worker and provided a Fair Work Inspector with a false or misleading document.

The Fair Work Ombudsman issued a Compliance Notice about the company’s failure to pay a former employee, who managed rental properties, for her final two days of work and some personal leave and annual leave entitlements.

Jenni International then provided a medical certificate purporting to show Lee was hospitalised in Malaysia after the Compliance Notice was issued although she was in fact in Australia at the time.

In addition to the penalties, the Court has ordered Jenni International to obey the Compliance Notice, which includes calculating and rectifying the underpayment in full, plus superannuation and interest.

It is the second time the Fair Work Ombudsman has secured Court-ordered penalties against Jenni International. Penalties in the first matter were imposed in November 2020.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices risk court-imposed penalties, in addition to having to back-pay underpaid staff.

“We make every effort to secure voluntary compliance with Compliance Notices but where they are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive all their lawful entitlements,” Parker said.