Ombudsman lays charges

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Ombudsman lays charges

Hungry Jacks charged with underpaying workers $105,000; Director charged over ‘no pay for three weeks’ claim.

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Hungry Jacks charged with underpaying workers $105,000; Director charged over ‘no pay for three weeks’ claim.
 
Hungry Jacks charged with underpaying workers $105,000
 
The operator of a Hungry Jack’s fast food outlet at Bendigo will face court for allegedly underpaying staff more than $105,000.
 
The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched a prosecution against Chamdale Pty Ltd, which operates a Hungry Jack’s outlet on the corner of High and Thistle streets in Bendigo.
 
Chamdale allegedly underpaid 181 of its employees a total of $105,148 between July 2005 and December 2009.

Juniors

Most of the allegedly underpaid employees were juniors, some as young as 14. They generally worked in customer service and food preparation roles and were variously employed on a full-time, part-time or casual basis. Some are still employed by Chamdale.

The Fair Work Ombudsman claims the company underpaid its staff the minimum hourly rate, overtime and public holiday penalty rates, annual leave entitlements and a laundry allowance.
 
The largest amount allegedly owed to an individual employee is $8384.

Chamdale allegedly failed to provide the classification and pay-rate upgrades the employees were entitled to based on the length of time they had been employed.

Complaints

Fair Work inspectors discovered the alleged underpayments when they investigated complaints from some employees.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said the Agency decided to take the matter to court because of the large amount involved and the employer’s failure to rectify the alleged underpayments.

Wilson said another key factor was the large number of young and vulnerable employees who had allegedly been short-changed.

‘Teenagers are often not fully aware of their workplace rights and can be reluctant to complain, so we treat very seriously any alleged underpayment of this vulnerable group in our society,’ he said.

‘We expect those companies which employ significant numbers of young people to diligently exercise their workplace obligations and ensure their staff receive their full and proper entitlements.’

Chamdale allegedly committed several contraventions of workplace laws and faces maximum penalties of $33,000 per breach.

Court order

As well as penalties, the Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a Court order for Chamdale to rectify the alleged underpayments.

The matter is listed for hearing in the Federal Magistrates Court in Melbourne on 16 November.

The Chamdale matter is unrelated to an earlier Fair Work Ombudsman investigation and prosecution of Hungry Jack’s Pty Ltd for underpaying 693 of its Tasmanian staff more than $665,000.

That case resulted in Hungry Jack’s Pty Ltd being fined $100,500 earlier this year.


Director charged over ‘no pay for three weeks’ claim
 
A company director is facing prosecution over allegedly underpaying two employees more than $7000.

Facing court is Rose Bay man Ron Baruch, who was formerly the sole director, manager and part-owner of Linkwizz Pty Ltd, a Rockdale-based business which sold online advertising space.

Baruch was allegedly centrally involved in underpaying two Sydney sales employees a total of $7060 in 2009.

It is alleged the two male employees, aged in their 20s, worked for Linkwizz for three weeks, but did not receive any pay.

Entitled to $3530 each

It is alleged the employees were each entitled to have been paid $3530 in wages, annual leave entitlements and wages in lieu of notice.

Fair Work inspectors discovered the alleged underpayments when they investigated complaints lodged by the workers.

It is alleged Baruch was also involved in failing to make and keep proper employment records.
 
Linkwizz went into liquidation last year, preventing the Fair Work Ombudsman from prosecuting the company.

Baruch was allegedly involved in numerous breaches of workplace laws.

He faces maximum potential penalties of $6600 per breach for the underpayment matters and $1100 per breach for the record-keeping matters.

The case will be heard in the Federal Magistrates Court in Sydney.

Sales assistant gets $6400

Meanwhile, a sales assistant at Deniliquin in regional New South Wales has been back paid a total of $6400 following intervention by the Ombudsman.

After investigating of a complaint from the employee, a Fair Work inspector found the worker had not been paid annual leave entitlements.

After the inspector contacted the employer and explained its obligations, the employee was promptly reimbursed all money owed.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said the business has also put processes in place to ensure the error is not repeated.  
 
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