Lockyer Valley store faces court for allegedly underpaying worker $17,000

15 February 2010

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched a prosecution against the operators of a Lockyer Valley store for allegedly underpaying a worker more than $17,000.

Facing court is Aussie Little Auction Houses Pty Ltd, which operated a retail fruit and vegetable store on the Warrego Highway at Plainland, east of Gatton.

The store is no longer trading.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is also prosecuting Aussie Little Auction Houses part-owner Francis Eamon Weston, of Marburg, who managed the store.

Documents lodged in the Federal Magistrates Court in Brisbane allege Mr Weston was centrally involved in the company underpaying a casual shop assistant $17,218 between November, 2007 and January, 2009.

It is alleged the shop assistant was paid a flat rate of $12 for all hours worked when she was entitled to more than $18 an hour.

Aussie Little Auction Houses allegedly also breached workplace laws by failing to issue the shop assistant with payslips.

Fair Work inspectors discovered the alleged underpayments when they investigated a complaint from the worker.

Fair Work Ombudsman Queensland Director Julie Wade says the decision to prosecute was made because of the significant amount involved and the employer’s failure to rectify the matter.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges the company and Mr Weston committed two underpayment breaches of workplace laws and one breach related to payslips.

The maximum penalty per breach is $33,000 for the company and $6600 for Mr Weston for the underpayment matters and $5500 for the company and $1100 for Mr Weston for the payslips matter.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a Court Order for back-payment of the money allegedly owed.

The Fair Work Ombudsman promotes harmonious, productive and co-operative workplaces. It also monitors compliance and investigates breaches of national workplace laws.

Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit www.fwo.gov.au. For translations call 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:

Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations,
0419 818 484

Ryan Pedler, Media & Stakeholder Relations Senior Adviser
(03) 9954 2561, 0434 365 924

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