News

Employer fined for underpayment

Just two months before the enactment of the Fair Work Bill, the Federal Government’s Workplace Ombudsman has secured the second largest fine ever handed out for an employer underpaying workers.

The operator of Caltex La Trobe in Tasmania was fined $201,300 and a company director was fined a further $40,260. The Court also ordered that back-pay of $41,000, plus interest, still outstanding to six workers was to be repaid within 28 days.

The decision by Federal Magistrate John O’Sullivan in the Federal Magistrates Court in Melbourne, signals the Court’s acceptance of a hard line approach to the standards set by the Rudd Government and should act as a warning to all businesses.

“The Courts are treating these breaches as very serious and all businesses should pay attention to their obligations as employers, especially with the new laws about to come into play,” Aitken Partners head of Workplace Relations Law, Stephen Curtain, said about the penalties.

“Any employers who have not familiarised themselves with the new laws are taking a very big risk.”

The operator of the petrol station was brought before the Courts following an investigation by the Office of the Workplace Ombudsman.

Aitken Partners is hosting an information session on the new Fair Work Bill on 27 May. For advice on your workplace relations and information on this seminar, please contact our Workplace Relations Team on (03) 8600 6042.