Bendigo transport business allegedly underpaid employees more than $250,000

29 August 2012

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 is prosecuting the operators of a transport business in the Victorian Goldfields region for allegedly underpaying 44 employees more than $250,000.

Facing court are husband-and-wife Michael Gregory Symes and Janice Mary Symes, who jointly own and operate Symes Transport at Bendigo.

The couple allegedly underpaid 44 employees a total of $251,942 between November, 2005 and December, 2009.

The workers were variously employed on a full-time, part-time or casual basis to load and/or drive trucks.

They were allegedly underpaid their minimum hourly rates, overtime rates, shift and meal allowances and annual leave loading entitlements.

Some of the employees were allegedly underpaid by more than $10 an hour for some of the overtime work they performed.

The biggest alleged underpayment of an individual employee is $29,914.

Fair Work inspectors first discovered the alleged underpayments in 2009 when they investigated a complaint from an employee.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Mr and Mrs Symes committed several breaches of workplace laws.

They each face maximum potential penalties of $6600 per breach.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a Court Order for Mr and Mrs Symes to rectify the alleged underpayments.

The case is listed for a hearing in the Federal Magistrates Court in Melbourne on September 24.

Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit

A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman on Twitter @fairwork_gov_au external-icon.png or find us on Facebook external-icon.png.

Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Assistant Director, Media & Stakeholder Relations
(03) 9954 2561, 0411 430 902

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