Magistrate imposes penalties of $44,000 and $45,800 on two individuals for failing to comply with the Court’s orders for production of employment records
“The provisions of the Industrial Relations Act related to the production of records are necessary tools which allow industrial inspectors to obtain employment records to protect the rights of employees in this State. When an employer fails to – or in the case of these co-offenders, refuses – to comply, then it effectively stymies any investigation. A strong message needs to be sent, not only to these co-offenders, but also to other employers, that such behaviour is utterly reprehensible. General deterrence looms large in this sentencing exercise.”
On 9 December 2021 the Court made two orders requiring the two individual respondents to produce employment records by set dates. Neither individual complied with the orders. Through their lawyer, they changed their not guilty pleas, to guilty pleas on all of the charges. They were accordingly convicted upon their pleas of guilty of two charges each for failing to comply with court orders contrary to s 83E(9) of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA).
Industrial Magistrate Coleman noted that the co-offenders deliberately chose to ignore the Court order. They each made a conscious and deliberate decision not to comply. Her Honour also noted that it was an understatement to say Mr Imam had behaved abhorrently towards the department’s representatively throughout their investigative process. His conduct was described as a “tidal wave of vitriol.” Her Honour described an apology letter to the Court as absurd and beggaring belief, in light of his unfounded accusations against the Department. Her Honour described his behaviour as “utterly reprehensible and shameful.” Accordingly, her Honour:
- Declined to discount the penalty on account of remorse;
- Allowed a 20% discount for the early acceptance of liability by the guilty plea;
- Considered the co-defendant’s deliberate obstructiveness as an aggravating factor;
- Determined that it was appropriate to impose a single fine for both charges against each individual under s54 of the Sentencing Act
- Determined that it was appropriate to additionally impose a further penalty relating to the daily penalty.
One co-offender, Mr Hui was ordered to pay a total penalty of $44,000 while Mr Imam was ordered to pay a total penalty of $45,800.
The decision can be read here.