Tas hotel charged after staff 'forced' to sign AWAs

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Tas hotel charged after staff 'forced' to sign AWAs

The Office of Workplace Services (OWS) is prosecuting a Tasmanian hotel company for 'drastically' cutting the hours of two staff who refused to sign AWAs - apparently as a warning to other staff of what would happen if they also refused to sign.

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The Office of Workplace Services (OWS) is prosecuting a Tasmanian hotel company for 'drastically' cutting the hours of two staff who refused to sign AWAs - apparently as a warning to other staff of what would happen if they also refused to sign.

The OWS alleges a third employee was threatened with a loss of shifts by the hotel manager on a number of occasions, and this occurred, but her hours were reinstated after she signed the AWA.

It is alleged other employees at the hotel felt compelled to sign the agreement based on the examples made of the three employees.

Penalties and compensation

OWS Director, Nicholas Wilson, said his office had initiated litigation proceedings in the Hobart registry of the Federal Court seeking penalties and compensation relating to breaches of the Workplace Relations Act by Mornington Inn Pty Ltd, trading as The Mornington Inn, in Tasmania.

Wilson said duress of employees was a matter the OWS took very seriously.

'The OWS has been active and committed to fulfilling its mandate of protecting Australian workplace rights and responsibilities,' said Wilson. 'The OWS is satisfied that in relation to these particular employees, duress has been applied.

$33,000 fines

'Companies should be aware they are liable for a $33,000 fine for each breach of the Workplace Relations Act 1996. Forcing workers to sign AWAs, or individual contracts, through inappropriate pressure, is one such breach of the Act.'

Employers and employees who would like more information on their rights and obligations should contact the WorkChoices Infoline on 1300 363 264.

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