15 September 2010
Nowra call centre allegedly underpaid workers more than $200,000
Note: Reference to prosecution in this media release is a general reference to the FWO commencing proceedings for the imposition of civil penalties and should not be taken to be a reference to criminal proceedings.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched a prosecution against the operator of a call centre at Nowra, in NSW, alleging it has underpaid 40 staff more than $200,000.
Facing court is the Well Done Group Pty Ltd, which operates an inbound call centre for several NSW municipal councils and various other organisations.
Documents lodged in the Federal Magistrates Court in Sydney allege the Well Done Group underpaid the 40 casual workers a total of $202,057 last year.
Also facing court is company director Judith Madge Potter, who manages the call centre. It is alleged she was involved in the contraventions.
The workers were allegedly underpaid their minimum hourly rate, shift, weekend and public holiday allowances, overtime rates and loading in lieu of annual leave.
The largest alleged underpayment of an individual is $17,467.
Fair Work inspectors discovered the alleged underpayments when they conducted an audit of the company last year.
The Fair Work Ombudsman claims Ms Potter failed to comply with a Fair Work inspector’s request to provide records and documents.
Under the Fair Work Act, employers must comply with requests from inspectors to provide records and documents.
Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says the decision to prosecute was made because of the significant amount involved and the employer’s failure to rectify the matter.
It is alleged Ms Potter was involved in the Well Done Group committing eight contraventions of workplace laws. The maximum penalty is $33,000 per breach for the company and $6600 for Ms Potter.
As well as penalties, the Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking a Court Order for back-pay. A directions hearing is listed for October 5.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has a range of user-friendly resources on its website - www.fairwork.gov.au - to assist employees and employers to check minimum rates of pay. Employers or employees seeking help can also contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 from 8am-6pm weekdays. For translations call 13 14 50.
Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations
(03) 9954 2561, 0434 365 924