Toy Retailer Faces Court Over Underpayment Of Young Workers

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15th January 2010, 10:00am - Views: 533

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 1 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 

Media Release

  15 Jan 2010

National toy retailer faces court over alleged

underpayment of hundreds of young workers

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched a prosecution against retail giant

Toys“R”Us, alleging the company failed to promptly compensate more than 700

staff – many of them teenagers – who had been underpaid.

Documents lodged in the Federal Magistrates Court in Sydney allege that

Toys“R”Us failed to compensate the underpaid workers within the time frame

required under workplace laws.

It is alleged that hundreds of the company’s workplace agreements were invalid

because they failed either the Fairness test or No Disadvantage test.

The Fair Work Ombudsman claims that insufficient pay rates contained in the

invalid workplace agreements resulted in Toys“R”Us underpaying more than 700

employees for various periods between 2007 and 2009.

The alleged underpayments were of entitlements including the minimum casual

hourly rate and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and night shifts.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that Toys“R”Us failed to back-pay the

underpaid workers within the required timeframe, despite repeated demands.

It finally did so in March, 2009 – reimbursing its workers a total of $445,000.

Some had waited up to nine months to receive their outstanding entitlements.

Toys“R”Us staff who were allegedly underpaid worked at the following stores:

Western Australia - Cannington, Joondalup and Morley

South Australia - Tea Tree Gully, Noarlunga and Rundle Mall

ACT - Belconnen and Canberra Airport 

Victoria - Wantirna South, Maribyrnong, Chadstone, East Preston, Geelong

and Frankston, and

NSW - Parramatta, Chatswood, Kotara, Moore Park, Penrith, Bankstown,

Miranda, Castle Hill, Liverpool, Campbelltown, Hurstville and Erina.

Most were engaged on a casual basis and were under the age of 25, including

many under the age of 18.


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People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 2 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 


The Fair Work Ombudsman also alleges that Toys“R”Us failed to follow correct

procedures when lodging many of its workplace agreements.

A number of agreements were allegedly non-compliant with one or more matters

relating to how they had to be signed, approved by the employer and employee,

dated, witnessed and lodged.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the decision to prosecute the

company was made because of the significant amount involved and the

company’s extensive failure to meet its obligations.

“Underpaying young workers is a particularly serious matter,” she said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Toys“R”Us committed more than 20

contraventions of workplace laws. It faces a maximum penalty of $33,000 per


The case is listed for a directions hearing on February 1.

The Fair Work Ombudsman promotes harmonious, productive and co-operative

workplaces. It also monitors compliance and investigates breaches of national

workplace laws.

Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline

on 13 13 94 or visit For translations call 13 14 50.

Media inquiries: 

Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations. 0419 818 484.

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

2561, 0434 365 924.

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