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Boss cops $100,000 in fines on pay

A FORMER Albury fish and chip store owner has been slapped with almost $100,000 in fines for underpaying three staff.
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The hefty penalties handed down in the Federal Court in Sydney followed litigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Lavington man Ian Andrews was fined $15,048, while his company, Barry Scott Distributors Pty Ltd, was penalised an additional $79,942.

Andrews’ company was also ordered to back-pay $69,932 to the three former workers.

The fines relate to the shortchanging of staff from the Thurgoona Takeaway, which closed in May, 2012, while Andrews was the owner-manager.

Thurgoona Takeaway has since re-opened under new ownership with no connection to Andrews or his company.

Judge Tom Altobelli was scathing in his assessment of Andrews and his company.

He found the underpayments were “deliberate, or at the very least reckless” and demonstrated a disregard for employer obligations.

“Penalties in this case should be imposed on a meaningful level so as to deter other employers from committing similar contraventions,” he said.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James was equally damning, emphasising yesterday that all employers should heed the court’s warning and strong penalty.

“This kind of blatant disregard for employee entitlements is very serious conduct and clearly will not be tolerated,” she said.

“Successful litigations such as this also benefit employers who are complying with workplace laws, because it helps them to compete on a level playing field.”

The underpayments occurred between July, 2011, and May, 2012.

The two managers and an assistant manager were paid only a flat rate of $1000 a week.

That was despite usually working more than 50 hours a week.

On at least one occasion they worked more than 100 hours in a week.

The court was told this resulted in a significant underpayment of minimum hourly rates and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and overtime work.

Judge Altobelli found Andrews and his company’s “history of non-compliance” was a “significantly aggravating” factor.

The judgement referred to an apology made to the court.

But this was made “only in the broadest terms” and that “little weight” could be given to it, given it was provided “in the eleventh hour of the penalty hearing”.

There was no evidence of any apology being given to the employees involved.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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