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Former Melbourne fashion store operator ignored calls to backpay young worker

Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores
29 October 2020 1 minute readShare
Melbourne Central shopping complex

A former operator of a clothing retail store in the Melbourne CBD has been penalised after it failed to heed calls to address outstanding amounts owing to a casual retail employee who was a visa holder in her early 20s.

The Federal Circuit Court imposed a $36,146 penalty against Zurel Pty Ltd, the former operator of a clothing store trading as 316 Melbourne at the Melbourne Central shopping complex, and a $7,229 penalty against the company’s director, Ban Teik Chee.

The company also breached record-keeping and payslip laws, of which Mr Chee was involved in the breaches.

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Zurel and Mr Chee admitted breaching the Fair Work Act by failing to comply with a compliance notice requiring the company to calculate and backpay the casual employee.

The notice was issued after a Fair Work inspector formed a belief that the employee had been underpaid her minimum hourly wage, casual loading and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and evening work under the General Retail Industry Award 2010.

 

The court ordered Zurel to comply with the compliance notice, which includes rectifying the underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.

Judge John O’Sullivan said the matter involved a failure to heed the warning that there are potentially serious consequences for failing to abide by a compliance notice.

“The failure to comply with the notice properly issued by the applicant in the course of its investigations and the discharge of its statutory functions is serious,” Judge O’Sullivan said.

“Recipients of such notices should be left under no misapprehension about their obligations to comply with those notices.”

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Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said businesses that fail to act on compliance notices face court-imposed penalties in addition to having to backpay any underpaid staff.

“We make every effort to secure voluntary compliance with compliance notices, but where they are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” Ms Parker said.

Former Melbourne fashion store operator ignored calls to backpay young worker
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Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores is the deputy editor of MyBusiness. Before that, he was the deputy editor for SMSF Adviser as well as features editor for ifa (Independent Financial Adviser), InvestorDaily, Risk Adviser, Fintech Business and Adviser Innovation.

You can email Adrian at [email protected].

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