Former security services firm fined for failing to act on Compliance Notice

Company 'pursued a strategy, without regard to the law,' says FWO

Former security services firm fined for failing to act on Compliance Notice

A former security services company has been fined $22,200 for failing to act on a Compliance Notice that ordered it to back-pay two underpaid staff.

Cobra Security Services Pty Ltd, which has ceased trading, received the notice after inspectors believed that it underpaid two casual security officers their casual minimum wages and penalty rates for work performed on weekends, public holidays, and outside of ordinary hours.

One casual security officer was not paid for work performed between March and May 2022, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The other casual security officer, on the other hand, was reportedly not paid for 10 days of work that she performed in March 2022.

Intentional misconduct

Judge Jonathan Forbes said Cobra Security Services had "pursued a strategy, without regard to the law, to avoid its obligations under the [Fair Work] Act compliance regime."

Forbes also said there was merit in the FWO's claim that Cobra's lack of cooperation and lack of contrition was intentional.

"The Ombudsman adduced evidence that the Company had applied for voluntary deregistration after these proceedings had been commenced and had mislead the corporate regulator by stating that there were no current proceedings against the Company," Forbes said as quoted by the FWO.

This conduct heightens the need for deterrence, according to Forbes, in deciding the penalty for Cobra Security Services.

"The penalty should be sufficiently serious to send a clear signal to other like-minded employers that the type of conduct engaged in by the respondent is unacceptable," he said.

Meanwhile, Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth reiterated her warning that employers risk getting penalised for failing to act on Compliance Notices.

"When Compliance Notices are not followed, we will continue to take legal action to protect employees. Employers who fail to act on these notices risk substantial penalties," Booth said in a statement.

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