Builder cops $55,000 discrimination penalty

L.U. Simon Builders was found to have discriminated against a subcontractor because he did not have a particular kind of workplace agreement, which according to the Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner, is a contravention of section 45 of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005. “A person has a right to choose the kind of workplace agreement they enter into, and with whom the agreement is made,” said Australian Building and Construction Commissioner John Lloyd. “The substantial penalty imposed by the courts highlights the seriousness of discriminating against a subcontractor because of their choice of workplace agreement,” Lloyd said. In March 2007, L.U. Simon was the head contractor of a Docklands building site in Melbourne. L.U. Simon contracted the construction and installation of a glass barrier and steel handrail to Axiom Designs. In turn, Axiom Designs engaged Peter Vanderkley to install the glass barrier and steel handrails. In a statement of agreed facts, L.U. Simon admitted that: it discriminated against Vanderkley because his employees were not covered by a particular kind of workplace agreement on three occasions it refused to allow Vanderkley access to the site to perform work it terminated or varied Axiom Designs’ contract because Vanderkley’s employees were not covered by a particular kind of workplace agreement. Half of the ordered penalty has been suspended provided L.U. Simon does not contravene the BCII Act or the Workplace Relations Act 1996 again in the next 12 months.

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