Former manager fined $15,000 over underpayment of salesperson

5 August 2010

Melbourne Magistrates’ Court has ordered the former manager of a retail business to pay a $15,000 fine for his involvement in the underpayment of one of his former sales staff.

Caulfield South man Russell Meerkin, a former manager and part-owner of the company which operated Ken Bruce Sales on Glenferrie Road, Malvern, has been given eight months to pay the fine.

The penalty follows a prosecution by the Fair Work Ombudsman, which had alleged Meerkin was centrally involved in the salesperson being underpaid a total of $25,575 between 2003 and 2008.

The male employee, in his 50s, worked an average 47.5 hours a week from Monday to Saturday. His underpayments related primarily to overtime rates, annual leave entitlements and wages in lieu of notice.

Meerkin was also involved in the company’s failure to keep proper employment records for the employee or issue him with payslips.

The Ken Bruce Sales store in Malvern was sold in late 2008 and the company which operated the business was placed in external administration in February this year.

The liquidator advised the Fair Work Ombudsman there were no funds to reimburse the underpaid employee.

The Court instructed that Meerkin’s fine be paid to the former salesperson.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has a range of user-friendly resources on its website – www.fwo.gov.au – to assist employees and employers check minimum rates of pay.

Small to medium-sized businesses without human resources staff can also ensure they are following best practice when hiring, managing and dismissing employees by using free template employment documentation with step-by-step instructions or accessing a series of Best Practice Guides.

Online resources also include payslip and record-keeping templates, a self-audit checklist and fact sheets.

Employers or employees seeking assistance can also contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94  from 8am-6pm weekdays. For translations call 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:

Craig Bildstien, Director, Media & Stakeholder Relations,
0419 818 484
craig.bildstien@fwo.gov.au

Richard Honey, Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations,
(03) 9954 2716, 0457 924 146
richard.honey@fwo.gov.au

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