Court action over sacking of Perth teenager

23 February 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 operator of a Perth business for allegedly sacking a 16-year-old because the boy's mother queried his pay.

Facing court are Port Kennedy-man Stephen Ashley and his Willetton-based private company West Coast Propellers Pty Ltd, which is engaged in repairing, servicing and selling aeroplane propellers.

Mr Ashley allegedly hired the teenager in November, 2010 and told him he would be paid $5.32 an hour.

Court documents claim the boy's mother contacted the Fair Work Infoline and received advice that the pay rate should be more than $7 an hour.

On her son's behalf, the woman subsequently met Mr Ashley during her son's first week at work to query the pay rate he had been offered.

After the meeting, Mr Ashley allegedly told the employee not to come to work until the matter was resolved - and then wrote to him telling him he was no longer employed.

Fair Work inspectors investigated the matter after the employee and his mother lodged a complaint.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says a decision to prosecute was made because the dismissal allegedly constitutes a serious breach of workplace law.

"Under the Fair Work Act, it is unlawful to dismiss or take any other adverse action against an employee for exercising a workplace right, such as querying or complaining about pay rates," Mr Wilson said.

Mr Ashley was allegedly involved in his company committing two breaches of workplace law. The maximum potential penalty per breach is $6600 for Mr Ashley and $33,000 for West Coast Propellers.

The case is listed for July 10 in the Federal Magistrates Court in Perth.

Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit www.fairwork.gov.au

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
ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au

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