Brisbane director fined over underpayment of workers

13 October 2010

The director of a former Brisbane car rental company has been fined $110,000 over the underpayment of seven workers, following a prosecution by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Nathan Conn, of Northgate, received the fine in the Federal Magistrates Court in Brisbane.

Conn was the manager and sole director of Enterprise Car Rental Group Pty Ltd, which traded as Abel Car Rental at a number of locations throughout Brisbane, before the company went into liquidation.

Federal Magistrate Michael Burnett imposed the fine after finding Conn was involved in Enterprise Car Rental Group committing 28 breaches of workplace laws by underpaying seven workers a total of $61,423 between February, 2006 and April, 2008.

Federal Magistrate Burnett ordered that part of Conn’s fine be paid to the underpaid workers.

The underpaid employees, who performed various roles, were underpaid their minimum hourly rate, annual leave entitlements, superannuation, meal break pay, termination pay and penalty rates for weekend and public holiday work.

Conn was also involved in the failure to pay compensation to one employee after the workplace agreement he was employed under failed a fairness test.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says the case sends a message that individual directors involved in blatantly underpaying employees and failing to rectify the situation will be held to account.

“We will not hesitate to take court action to protect workers’ rights,” he said.

“Successful prosecutions such as this also benefit employers who are complying with workplace laws because it helps them to compete on a level playing field.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman could not prosecute Enterprise Car Rental Group because the company is in liquidation. The Agency’s prosecutions against former Enterprise Car Rental Group senior managers Tony Hinai and George Halliday were discontinued following mediation.

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.

Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations
(03) 9954 2561, 0411 430 902
ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au

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