Boss calls Fair Work "mafia, Nazi, communists", fined for unfair dismissal

by HCA03 Apr 2017
MCE Lasers and its majority shareholder Zoran Crvenkovic have been fined nearly $26,000 in the Federal Circuit Court after refusing to pay out an Iranian worker dismissed in 2015.

The dismissed employee, a service technician, was in Australia on a 485 temporary graduate visa and later a 457 skilled worker visa when he was employed by the company between May, 2013 and January, 2015.

In October 2015, the Fair Work Commission ordered the company to pay compensation and superannuation.

This was after ruling the company had unfairly dismissed the employee via email following the company re-opening after the Christmas and New Year holidays.   

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated when the worker lodged a request for assistance after the compensation was not paid. Moreover, multiple requests by the FWO to the company and Crvenkovic did not lead to any payment.

In the reasons for his judgement, Judge Joshua Wilson's said when a FWO lawyer contacted Crvenkovic about the case he told her he wasn't interested, he didn't recognise the court and "Fair Work are mafia, Nazi, communists".

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said “compliance with workplace laws is not optional, it is fundamental to the integrity of the workplace relations system and society in general”.

“People cannot pick and choose when they want to abide by their legal obligations," Campbell said.

"All workplace participants need to understand that we will take action against those that choose to flout the law – and that there will be consequences for doing so.”

Aside from the breach for failing to comply with the Fair Work Commission order, the company was found to have failed to comply with a Notice to Produce documents issued by a Fair Work inspector.  

Further, Crvenkovic was found to be involved in both of the company’s breaches of workplace laws.

Judge Wilson noted in his decision on penalties the need for general deterrence to discourage a failure to comply with orders.

"An employer is not entitled to unilaterally determine to ignore an order made by [the Fair Work Commission]," Judge Wilson said.

The Judge accepted Crvenkovic, who he described as the company’s "controlling mind", had told a FWO lawyer in June last year that he was "not responding" and "not interested" in participating in the court proceeding.

Judge Wilson noted there was no evidence of an apology by the company to the worker, who has since left Australia.

Related stories:

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$72,000 in penalties after employee underpaid, sacked by text message

COMMENTS

  • by Dave Wane 4/04/2017 10:16:12 PM

    I will go to my grave with the following long-held beliefs:
    *The only government intervention in the labour market should be to allow an independent body to determine a minimum wage.
    *All employers are free people and all employees are also free people. The price that an employer is willing and able to pay for labour is best determined by the productivity of the worker and the current labour market conditions. In other words: between the employer and the employee, not some union-friendly and very artificial body like the Fair Work Commission.
    *Termination of employment, if on an employment contract (if we ever get a free and open labour market) will obviously be subject to the terms and conditions of the employment contract. And if under the current mess, "SHOULD" always allow either the employee or the employer to terminate at any time, probably with say a week's notice. It clearly does not do anything like that at present. It is currently unfair. The employee can quit at any time for whatever reason, even no reason; yet the employer is subject to a mountain of union-controlled and government regulated procedures to determine whether the employer should have been terminate.
    This is simply not fair.

  • by Steve 7/04/2017 3:21:20 PM

    I like your comments here Dave. For many years now - I would say since at least the 1996 Workplace Relations Act, but probably before that - the realm of employment termination has been severely skewed in the employee's favour.
    Speaking as an employee, I fully appreciate the rights I have in law and it gives me a warm feeling.
    Speaking as an HR professional, I fully recognise there is nothing remotely resembling balance... a fact which, of course, plays a key role in providing me with ongoing employment.
    The battle rages on!

  • by Simon 5/05/2017 12:37:11 PM

    Its good that we all have our views about the system and laws associated with work place relations in Australia. Certainly in recent years these laws have been positioned to be favourable for the employee, and to protect certain rights associated with employment. However, if this is what is required to ensure our system is not based on "the law of the jungle" as Dave seems to prefer, this is no bad thing. People need to be treated fairly at work. I fear the absence of our current system would mean many people (predominantly the young and others less able to defend themselves) would be severely disadvantaged and exploited. Certainly all employees and employers are free people. But in the absence of any regulation, the power imbalance between the employer and the employee will mean that it is the employee being treated less favourably. We need look no further for evidence of this than the recent examples of certain employment practices with 457 or student visa holders.

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