Ipswich security company allegedly underpaid workers almost $50,000

21 May 2010

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched a prosecution against the operators of a security company at Ipswich in Queensland, alleging the company underpaid its employees almost $50,000.

Facing court is Specialised Security Service Pty Ltd, which is based in the suburb Amberley, and company director-manager Peter Conroy.

Documents lodged in the Federal Magistrates Court in Brisbane allege that 32 security officers were underpaid a total of $46,205 between 2006 and 2008.

The employees were allegedly paid a flat rate of between $17 and $20 for all hours worked, resulting in underpayment of their casual loadings, shift allowances and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and overtime work.

The biggest alleged underpayment of an individual worker is $7530.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says inspectors audited Specialised Security Service in 2008 as part of a campaign targeting the security industry in Queensland.

The company rectified all alleged underpayments of its employees in 2009.

However, Mr Campbell says the Fair Work Ombudsman has decided to prosecute because of the significant amount involved for low-paid workers.

It is alleged that Specialised Security Service and Mr Conroy each committed five breaches of national workplace laws. The maximum penalty per breach is $33,000 for the company and $6600 for Mr Conroy.

The case is listed for a directions hearing on May 26.

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.

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

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

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