Both a HR Manager, as well as the company she worked for, were fined in the Federal Circuit Court in Adelaide as the result of a failure to pay to an employee proper notice.
The employee was paid some notice but not the whole of the notice period required by the Fair Work Act. The employee was underpaid two days notice and suffered an economic loss of $181.66 as a result.
The HR Manager conceded in the hearing that she knew of the requirements to pay proper notice. The company argued that it was confused between the provisions of the workers compensation legislation in South Australia regarding termination of employment and the Fair Work Act. However the Federal Circuit Court held that that was no excuse and the company should have paid the notice as provided by the Fair Work Act.
The Federal Circuit Court judge stated that she wished to send a message to employers regarding the importance of complying with “legislation to the letter”.
The HR Manager was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $1,020 for her part in the underpayment. The company received a civil penalty of $20,400.
Given the small amount of underpayment, these penalties serve as a serious reminder to all employers regarding the need for strict compliance with the provision of the Fair Work Act.
If you are considering terminating an employee’s employment you should contact our Employment, Industrial Relations & OHS team to avoid inadvertent non-compliance with your obligations.