The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) continues to remain very active in investigating, enforcing and prosecuting the workplace laws under their jurisdiction, particularly those regarding underpayment of wages.
Recently, the FWO commenced action against United Petroleum Pty Ltd, alleging that the company failed to produce documents when it was legally required to do so for an investigation into workplace law breaches.
United Petroleum faces potential penalties of up to $63,000, as well as court orders to compel production of the records and documents.
As part of their investigative powers, the FWO has extensive powers to order companies, business and individuals to produce documents in connection with their investigation. This may be the case regardless of whether you are the party actively being investigated.
The Notice to Produce is a fundamental tool for the FWO in order to obtain documents required for investigations, and they will therefore rigorously enforce compliance, including by taking court action.
This case also serves as a reminder that franchisors can be liable for the breaches of the franchisees, as well as other potential accessories such as directors, accountants, managers and payroll providers. The FWO is continuing a strong focus on enforcing compliance with workplace laws in the franchising sector.
If you receive a Notice to Produce from the FWO, or are contacted by them about an investigation, contact our Workplace Relations team as soon as possible for advice and assistance. It is important to co-operate and comply with any legal obligations, as refusal to comply can lead to prosecution and significant penalties. However, it is also important to confirm your position as soon as possible.
If you need workplace relations, industrial relations, WH&S, worker’s compensation or dispute advice or assistance contact the WR team on (08) 8291 2000 or via email by clicking here.