Gold Coast telecommunications company in court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has taken legal action against a Gold Coast-based telecommunications company that provides services to schools and businesses in South East Queensland.

Facing the court are Polyfone Telecom Pty Ltd and its sole director Paul Desmond Wallace.

The regulator opened an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker who had been employed by Polyfone Telecom as a full-time accountant between December 2014 and September 2020.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a notice of compliance to Polyfone Telecom in February 2021 after finding that the worker had not received all rights due under the 2020 Telecom Service Price and National Employment Standards.

The inspector estimated that the worker owed more than 600 hours of annual leave accrued but not taken at the time of the dismissal, as well as personal leave and pension rights.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that Polyfone Telecom, without a reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the notice of compliance, which required it to pay the worker’s full dues. It is alleged that Mr. Wallace was involved in the ticket.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator will continue to enforce labor laws and sue commercial operators when they fail to act on compliance notices.

“Where employers fail to comply, we are prepared to take appropriate legal action to ensure employees receive their legitimate rights. A court can order a company to pay penalties in addition to having to reimburse workers,” Ms Parker said.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or rights should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free advice and assistance.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking penalties for the alleged non-compliance with the notice of compliance. Polyfone Telecom faces a fine of up to $33,300 and Mr. Wallace faces a fine of up to $6,660.

FWO is also seeking an order that Polyfone Telecom comply with the notice of compliance by fully rectifying the alleged underpayment, including interest and superannuation. It is alleged that Polyfone Telecom partially reimbursed the worker, but $28,120.80 remains owed.

A guidelines hearing is scheduled at the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Brisbane on August 15, 2022.

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Sean B. Jackson