Doctor fined for failing to produce employee records

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A Greenwood medical practitioner has been fined $6280 (and ordered to pay costs of $1067) for failing to comply with a court order to supply an employee's records to an industrial inspector.

Dr Patrick Allan Nugawela was found guilty of failing to comply with an order of the Industrial Magistrate's Court to produce records to an industrial inspector, and was fined in the Industrial Magistrate's Court yesterday.

In September 2016, a receptionist made a formal complaint to the Department of Commerce that she had not been paid wages for up to two weeks.

An industrial inspector investigated, and in October and November served notices upon Dr Nugawela to produce records pertaining to the employee who lodged the complaint.

The records requested included tax information and records that demonstrated when employment commenced, what hours were worked, the level of pay, leave entitlements and so on.

On neither occassion did Dr Nugawela comply with the requirement to produce the records by the due date.

On February 9 2017, the Industrial Magistrate's Court found that Dr Nugawela has contravened the Industrial Relations Act by failing to comply with the requirement to produce the records imposed on him in October and November 2016.

The court then ordered Dr Nugawela to produce the records within 14 days. He did not comply with the order and continues not to produce any of the records.

Magistrate Flynn convicted Dr Nugawela and imposed a general fine of $1000 for the breach, plus a daily penalty of $20 per day for every day since the commencement of the offence (a period of 264 days).

Labour Relations Director Private Sector Lorraine Field said today the case should serve as a reminder to all employers of the importance of taking their employment obligations seriously.

"Yesterday's decision sends a clear message that employers cannot simply ignore lawful requests by an industrial inspector to produce employment records," Ms Field said.

"Dr Nugawela's disregard for the law has resulted in a $6280 fine, which comes on top of a $4000 civil penalty imposed earlier this year for obstructing an industrial inspector.

"It is a serious issue not to comply with requests made by an industrial inspector or a court, and this Department will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure compliance with State employment laws, including prosecution action."

Labour Relations
Media release
16 Nov 2017

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