The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against labour hire company, Corestaff WA, and contractor, Gumala Enterprises, alleging they discriminated against a worker because of his age.

It is alleged Corestaff WA refused to hire the qualified 70-year old grader operator because of his age following advice from Gumala Enterprises.

In its statement of claim filed in the Federal Court in Perth, the ABCC is alleging that following the worker’s application for the grader operator role, the Corestaff Area Manager forwarded the worker’s application to Gumala Enterprises to which its HR Advisor emailed the Corestaff Area Manager stating:

“I have some feedback on the grader ops.

… we had his details already, he applied directly with us. He has all the tickets we are looking for however he [sic] age is a concern – 70 years old. The other guy is a no.”

The Corestaff Area Manager replied: “Wow didn’t know that however I would have found out eventually.. [sic] yes will certainly keep looking.

Later that day, the Corestaff Area Manager emailed the worker stating: “Sorry…, no joy with the role at Gumala due to your age mate.”

The ABCC is alleging the conduct in this case is a contravention of the adverse action provisions of the Fair Work Act that prohibit discrimination.

The maximum penalty per contravention is $63,000 for a body corporate and $12,600 for an individual.

ABCC alleges right of entry breach against Tasmanian CFMMEU official

The ABCC has commenced Federal Court action in Tasmania alleging the CFMMEU and its official Richard Hassett breached Federal right of entry laws at the Cattle Hill Wind Farm project site in Lake Echo earlier this year.

In its Statement of Claim filed with the Federal Court on 10 April 2019 the ABCC alleges Mr Hassett walked past site representatives and entered the wind farm construction site on 16 January 2019 despite not holding a federal right of entry permit.

While on the site it is alleged Mr Hassett advised the head contractor’s health, safety and environment coordinator that although he had surrendered his federal permit he “had a right to enter under state law.”

The Fair Work Act prohibits union officials from exercising occupational health and safety rights under State or Territory laws unless the official holds a federal entry permit.

If a union official enters a site or premises under a right conferred by a State or Territory OHS law, the official must hold a federal permit and comply with relevant provisions of the Fair Work Act, as well as any applicable requirements in the relevant State or Territory OHS law.

The maximum penalty for a contravention under the Fair Work Act is $63,000 for a body corporate and $12,600 for an individual.

ABCC takes legal action against CEPU over unlawful industrial action

The ABCC has commenced Federal Court action against the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) and four of its officials following separate incidents at the Sydney Metro Trains Facility Site in Rouse Hill on 17 and 18 October and 14 December 2016.

It is alleged on 17 October CEPU officials Antony Stegic, Michael Hopper and Stewart Edward organised a day-long stop work of employees undertaking electrical work on the project. The stoppage continued until 10.30am the following day.

The ABCC is also alleging that on 14 December Mr Stegic and fellow CEPU organiser Frederick Barbin caused work on the Rouse Hill site to stop after the pair ignored safety instructions and accessed work areas unaccompanied and without wearing the required protective clothing.

The ABCC alleges the union officials organised the employees’ failure to commence work and perform their duties, hindered or obstructed employees from commencing and performing their duties, prevented management from speaking to their employees by physically blocking access to the employees and actively opposing efforts to get the employees to return to work, and ignored safety instruction on the site.

The ABCC also claims Mr Hopper and the CEPU contravened section 475 of the Fair Work Act by seeking strike pay for the employees.

The maximum penalty for each contravention of the Fair Work Act is $ 54,000 for a body corporate and $10,800 for an individual.

AMMA will continue to advocate for the retention of the ABCC in the lead-up to the 2019 Federal Election and beyond, with its new jurisdiction to enforce IR compliance in the offshore construction sector particularly critical for Australia securing final investment decision on the next wave of potential offshore hyrdrocarbons projects. For more information, contact [email protected]