16 April 2010
Melbourne paint retailer fined $72,600 for underpaying workers
A former Melbourne paint retailer has been fined $72,600 for underpaying five employees.
Pride Paints Pty Ltd, which formerly traded as The Paint Factory at Bayswater North and other locations around the metropolitan area, has been fined $66,000 and the company’s sole director Eberhard Peppler has been fined $6600.
The fines, imposed in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, are the result of a prosecution by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Magistrate Peter Lauritsen imposed the fines after Peppler admitted he was involved in Pride Paints committing 10 contraventions of workplace laws by underpaying five shop assistants at The Paint Factory outlet in Bayswater North.
The employees were underpaid a total of $25,524 between 2006 and 2009, with one of them underpaid more than $11,000.
The workers, who no longer work for Pride Paints, were underpaid their minimum hourly rate and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and overtime work.
“The contraventions display a persistent disregard by Pride Paints of its obligations to its employees over a number of years,” Magistrate Lauritsen said.
Magistrate Lauritsen criticised Pride Paints for continuing its non-compliance after an employee alerted the company in October 2008 that it was underpaying.
“After October 2008, it is fair to infer that Pride Paints deliberately disregarded its obligations to some of its employees,” Magistrate Lauritsen said.
In February this year, the court ordered Pride Paints to rectify the $25,524 underpayment but Magistrate Lauritsen said the order hadn’t been complied with.
Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says the case sends a message that underpaying workers is a serious offence that won’t be tolerated.
“The conduct in this case was made all the more serious by the company’s refusal to rectify the non-compliance issues it was alerted to,” Mr Campbell said.
The Fair Work Ombudsman promotes harmonious, productive and co-operative workplaces. It also monitors compliance and investigates breaches of workplace laws.
Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit www.fairwork.gov.au For translations call 13 14 50.
Ryan Pedler, Media & Stakeholder Relations Senior Adviser
(03) 9954 2561, 0434 365 924