Worker allegedly threatened with sack after asking to attend funeral
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Worker allegedly threatened with sack after asking to attend funeral

A worker was allegedly threatened with the sack after asking for compassionate leave to attend his father-in-law's funeral.

In a statement of claim filed in the Federal Court in Melbourne, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) alleges the company director for a Victorian building company denied the labourer's request in November 2016 and threatened to terminate his employment if he did not return to work. The company director later sent the labourer a text message to inform him that his Saturday shifts would be withdrawn.

A worker was allegedly threatened with the sack after asking for compassionate leave to attend his father in law's funeral.

A worker was allegedly threatened with the sack after asking for compassionate leave to attend his father in law's funeral.Credit:Pat Scala

The statement of claim alleges the company director for SWAT Building Systems later withdrew the worker’s Saturday shifts via text message, resulting in a total loss of $6720.

The ABCC is taking the company to court for allegedly sacking the worker on March 22, 2017 after he asked when he would be paid for the past five weeks' work, amounting to back pay of more than $22,500.

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The ABCC alleges SWAT Building Systems failed to pay the worker correctly for the hours he had worked and all entitlements owed on termination of his employment.

The statement of claim says the employer failed to pay the worker his full entitlements including superannuation, accrued annual leave, redundancy pay and for work on a rostered day off.

The ABCC said the maximum penalty for a breach of the Fair Work Act in this case was $54,000 for bodies corporate and $10,800 for individuals.

SWAT Building Systems company director Ilias Lymberatos said he denied the ABCC's allegations. He did not wish to comment further because "the legal proceedings are on foot".

Anna Patty is Workplace Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald. She is a former Education Editor, State Political Reporter and Health Reporter. Her reports on inequity in schools funding led to the Gonski reforms and won her national awards. Her coverage of health exposed unnecessary patient deaths at Campbelltown Hospital and led to judicial and parliamentary inquiries. At The Times of London, she exposed flaws in international medical trials.

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