Maitland company fined thousands after underpaying worker

A furniture delivery business in Maitland has been fined for failing to pay a young worker what they were owed.

The Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action against the operator of RBE Transport last year after they received a request for assistance from a worker who had been employed with the company from December 2020 to July 2021.

The employee was a young worker at the time, aged 18 to 19.

A compliance notice was issued to Mariano Ezequiel Lobos and Jamie Lobos on the belief they hadn’t paid the worker all of their accrued but not taken annual leave after they left the company owed under the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2020 and the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

Mr Lobbs failed to comply with the notice – the Fair Work Ombudsman has now secured just over $11,300 in court against the company who failed to pay the worker what they were owed.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a $5,661 penalty against Mr Mariano Ezequiel Lobos, who operated RBE Transport as a sole trader, and a further $5,661 penalty against Ms Jamie Lobos, who was involved in managing the business.

The Court has also ordered Mr Lobos to fully rectify the underpayment of the worker, plus interest. The worker has been only partially back-paid to date.

In imposing the penalty, Judge Sophie Given found that the failure to comply with the Compliance Notice was deliberate and the evidence indicated a lack of contrition from Mr and Ms Lobos and that “they do not take the contravention particularly seriously”.

Ms Lobos had emailed the Fair Work Ombudsman during the proceedings stating, in part, “I am happy to make a payment to him but I am unable to pull money from the air”.

Judge Given found there was a need to impose penalties to act as a deterrent to others.