Bendigo Hungry Jack’s operator penalised $46,200 over staff underpayments
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 operator of a Hungry Jack's fast food outlet at Bendigo in Victoria's
Goldfields region has been penalised $46,200 after the Fair Work Ombudsman found
it had been underpaying its 180-strong workforce for more than four years.
The Federal Magistrates Court in Melbourne imposed the penalty against
Chamdale Pty Ltd, which operates the Hungry Jack’s outlet on the corner of High
and Thistle streets in Bendigo.
Federal Magistrate Norah Hartnett found the company had underpaid 180
workers - mostly juniors, including some school-based apprentices - a total of
$104,946 between July, 2005 and December, 2009.
The largest individual underpayment was $8218. Twenty-nine employees were
underpaid more than $1000.
The retail employees generally worked in customer service and food
preparation roles and were variously employed on a full-time, part-time and
Most of the underpayments were the result of Chamdale failing to provide the
classification and pay-rate upgrades the employees were entitled to based on
length of service.
This resulted in underpayment of the minimum hourly rate, overtime and public
holiday penalty rates. The company also underpaid or failed to pay annual leave
entitlements and a laundry allowance.
The Court noted that while Chamdale had relied upon information provided by
Hungry Jacks Pty Ltd head office for its employee rates of pay, "some of those
wage updates did not inform accurately or sufficiently and led to error".
Federal Magistrate Hartnett said there was a need to "send a message to the
community at large, and employers particularly, that the correct entitlements
for employees must be paid and that steps must be taken by employers (of all
sizes) to ascertain and comply with minimum entitlements."
Taking into account the fact that Chamdale had no "priors" recorded against
it for previous similar conduct, that it had undertaken to voluntarily rectify
all underpayments and that it had engaged a specialist industrial relations
lawyer and appointed a new payroll adviser, Federal Magistrate Hartnett imposed
a penalty of 20 per cent of the applicable maximum of $231,000.
Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says the penalty delivered by the Court
is a reminder to employers, no matter how big or small, that underpayment of
employees is a serious matter and it is important to check they are meeting
their lawful obligations to staff.
"We expect those companies which
employ significant numbers of young people to diligently exercise their
workplace obligations and ensure staff receive their full and proper
entitlements," he said.
Mr Wilson said the Fair Work Ombudsman would shortly launch a dedicated
webpage to assist the franchise sector, with useful information and resources
aimed at franchisors and franchisees.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has a range of educational resources available to
assist employers and workers in the fast food industry to understand and comply
with workplace laws.
A section of the Fair Work Ombudsman's website - www.fairwork.gov.au/fastfood - provides
direct access to detailed information on workplace laws for businesses covered
by the Fast Food Award 2010, including those selling meals, snacks and/or drinks
primarily for take-away or in food courts.
Free documentation available includes industry-specific information about pay
rates, allowances, classifications, leave entitlements, apprenticeships and
traineeships, uniforms and clothing, when to pay staff and a range of other
The Fair Work Ombudsman's website also has sections dedicated to the
cleaning, clerical, hospitality, hair and beauty, horticulture, retail and
Note: The Chamdale matter is unrelated to an earlier Fair
Work Ombudsman investigation and prosecution of Hungry Jack’s Pty Ltd for
underpaying 693 of its Tasmanian staff more than $665,000. That case resulted in
Hungry Jack’s Pty Ltd being fined $100,500 in 2011.
Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman on Twitter @fairwork_gov_au
Richard Honey, Adviser, Media & Stakeholder
(03) 9954 2716, 0457 924 146
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