Court Imposes Fines For Underpayment Of Nsw Fruit And Veg Workers

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22nd October 2010, 09:30am - Views: 583





Misc Miscellaneous Fair Work Ombudsman 1 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 





Media Release





  22 Oct 2010


Court imposes fines for underpayment of fruit

and vegetable store workers


The operators of fruit and vegetable stores in Wagga and Sydney have been

fined almost $90,000 for underpaying 40 of their workers.


The penalties were handed down in the Federal Magistrates Court in Sydney

yesterday following a prosecution by the Fair Work Ombudsman.


The Fair Work Ombudsman told the Court that 20 shop assistants at the former

‘Fruit World’ and ‘Fruit Market’ stores on Baylis Street in Wagga were underpaid a

total of $84,000 – and 20 shop assistants at the Roselands Shopping Centre in

Sydney were underpaid about $10,000.


Roselands Fruit Market Pty Ltd was fined $70,800 and Joe Aloisio, who managed

the Wagga stores at the time of the underpayments, a further $16,650.


The company underpaid the workers between 2006 and 2009 when it was

operating the stores.


Handing down his decision yesterday, Federal Magistrate Rolf Driver said

Roselands Fruit Market continued to underpay employees for a significant period

of time even after Fair Work inspectors alerted the company to the issue.


Federal Magistrate Driver said employers in a similar position “are put on notice

that a failure by them to meet their obligations to employees will have substantial

consequences”.


The employees were paid a flat rate for all hours worked, resulting in

underpayment of their minimum hourly rate, weekend and public holiday penalty

rates, casual loadings and annual leave entitlements. 


Five of the underpaid Wagga employees and seven of the underpaid Sydney

employees were aged under 21.


The Fair Work Ombudsman started investigating Roselands Fruit Market Pty Ltd in

2008 after receiving complaints from workers.


The company has back-paid all money owed. The biggest individual

underpayment was $15,820 for a Wagga based employee.


Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Mike Campbell says the penalty sends

a strong message to employers that underpayment of young, low-paid workers

will not be tolerated by the courts.

“Successful prosecutions such as this also benefit employers who are complying

with workplace laws because it helps them to compete on a level playing field,”

he said.

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Misc Miscellaneous Fair Work Ombudsman 2 image






Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 


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Roselands Fruit Market continues to operate the Roselands store but the Wagga

stores on Baylis Street are no longer trading.


Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline

on 13 13 94 or visit www.fairwork.gov.au For translations call 13 14 50.


The Fair Work Ombudsman has a number of tools on its website to assist

employees and employers to check minimum rates of pay.


Small to medium-sized businesses without human resources staff can also ensure

they are better equipped when hiring, managing and dismissing employees by

using free template employment documentation with step-by-step instructions or

accessing a series of Best Practice Guides.


The ‘Industries’ section on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website provides

information specifically tailored for employers and workers in the retail, cleaning,

clerical, hair and beauty, security and horticulture industries.


Media inquiries: 


Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser Media & Stakeholder Relations. (03) 9954

2561, 0411 430 902. ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au






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