Compensation for breaches of the Fair Work Act

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The Fair Work Act 2009  contains many provisions which if contravened allow the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court, and in some cases the State Industrial Magistrates’ courts to order the imposition of “civil penalties”( ie  fines). The courts are empowered to order that these “fines” be paid to the Commonwealth, the victim or, in some cases, to charities nominated by the victim.

Additionally, the courts may award compensation for contraventions (for example a breach of the general protections) which include for economic and non-economic loss. For an insight into the relevant factors in assessing compensation, ehere is an example in action.

“A principal task in the determination whether it be appropriate to award compensation is whether a causal connection is established between the contravention and the loss claimed. Relevant to that consideration is whether the parties’ contract would otherwise have been brought to an end lawfully by the first respondent. This is relevant because compensation under s.545(1) is limited to the loss caused by the contravention, but may include an allowance for non-economic loss where some tangible emotional upset is established. This is a fact intensive question: Dafallah (2014) 225 FCR 559, [159], [161], [179].”

Gonzalez-Barbosa v Go to Court Franchising Pty Ltd and Anor (2017) FCCA 361 delivered 9 March 2017 per Kelly J