In January, World Gym Sunshine was ordered to pay $2,200 in compensation to a 24-year-old receptionist that it was found to have unfairly dismissed, within 14 days.
When the company failed to pay up, the employee contacted the Fair Work Ombudsman, who issued several notices requesting payment.
These were allegedly ignored and the company now faces legal action, along with Wayne Mailing, its director and part-owner.
The gym faces a maximum penalty of $51,000, while Mailing could face up to $10,200.
Employment lawyer Peter Vitale told SmartCompany
that it could be the first time an industrial relations
case has reached the Federal Circuit Court since the current Fair Work Commission was introduced.
“The case is unusual in that when the Fair Work Commission makes an order, the vast majority of employers apply them,” Vitale was quoted as saying.
“Since 1956, the mechanism has always been that if an employer or employee ignored a ruling of the industrial relations
tribunal, then it could only be enforced through a federal court. So this is an unusual example of the need to take action in the federal court to enforce a decision. Most people, whether they’re employers, employees or unions, will comply.”
Employers who choose to ignore Fair Work Commission rulings may find themselves facing court, as one Melbourne company discovered.