A Bundaberg-based transport company has been fined $80,000 for underpaying a worker, despite having signed an enterprise agreement with its employees.
The Federal Circuit Court ruled Bundaberg Refrigerated Transport had underpaid a worker by more than $11,000 over a period of nine months between October 2014 and July 2015.
Under the company’s enterprise agreement, the worker was entitled to an ordinary hourly rate of $26.09, but was instead paid a flat rate of $23 per hour.
Judge Salvatore Vasta said the breach should be seen in a “very serious light”.
“There is no excuse for a failure to comply with one’s own document, and in that respect, the breaches were deliberate,” Vasta said.
“There has still been no apology for, to use the vernacular, ripping off an employee over that nine-month period.”
It is alleged by the Fair Work Ombudsman the business also underpaid the casual worker’s annual leave entitlements, and did not provide the employer with the terms of her employment in writing.
Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the penalty served as a warning.
“Employers have a responsibility to fully pay the minimum rates and entitlements that apply to their employees. We are prepared to take legal action to enforce workplace laws, especially if businesses have been put on notice,” she said.
The business has back-paid the employee in full, in addition to penalties.
Vasta ordered hard copies of Bundaberg Refrigerated Transport’s enterprise agreements be made available in hard copy on the company’s premises.
SmartCompany contacted Bundaberg Refrigerated Transport for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.