Teen left to scrap for food after boss rips him off
A SUNSHINE Coast company director who ignored pleas from a desperate worker who could not afford food, has copped a $41,040 fine from authorities for not paying his wages.
Bradley Wells was the operator of the now-liquidated Attain Solutions Pty Ltd, which provided subcontracted civil works and underground services to entities contracting to the NBN Co Ltd for work on the National Broadband Network.
The Fair Work Ombudsman reports Mr Wells is now the director of civil earthworks company, Attain Infrastructure Pty Ltd, which is based in Warana according to the company's website.
The Fair Work Ombudsman launched an investigation which led to Mr Wells being penalised in the Federal Court Circuit in Brisbane.
The Fair Work Ombudsman reported the teenager was not paid for 150 hours of work digging trenches and laying pipes throughout south east Queensland between June 1 to June 26, 2017.
Judge Michael Jarrett said the impact on the victim was demonstrated in a text he sent to Mr Wells, asking why he had not been paid so he could tell his partner "why our bills aren't getting paid and why we don't have any food".
Judge Jarrett said there was a need to impose a penalty that deterred Mr Wells from breaching workplace laws in future, noting his current operator in the civil construction industry.
Judge Jarrett found that Mr Wells' breaches were deliberate, noting that in 2016 the Fair Work Ombudsman had issued him with four compliance notices and had formally cautioned him twice.
The court also found Mr Wells breached workplace laws through failing to comply with a notice to produce records or documents issued during the investigation.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said any employer who failed to meet their fundamental obligation to pay an employee wages for work performed risks facing serious consequences.
"We will not tolerate employers blatantly breaching workplace laws by failing to pay an employee their lawful wages for work performed. Employers should note that we treat the exploitation of young workers very seriously, who can be particularly vulnerable if it is their first job," Ms Parker said.
"We urge any young workers with concerns about their wages or entitlements to contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free advice and assistance."
Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. Small business callers can opt to receive priority service. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.