Subway franchisee allegedly underpaid young employees more than $50,000

30 May 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 has launched a prosecution against the operator of four Subway outlets at Newcastle, in regional NSW, over more than $50,000 in alleged underpayments of 11 young employees.

Facing court is Nicole Patrice Dawe, of Medowie, who part-owns and operates four Subway franchise outlets.

The outlets are located at 30 Northcott Drive, Kotara; the corner of Cowper and Kokera streets, Wallsend; 158 Pacific Highway, Charlestown and 30 Pearson Street, Charlestown.

It is alleged Mrs Dawe was centrally involved in underpaying 11 employees at the four Subway outlets a total of $56,585 between 2006 and 2011.

It is alleged the majority of the underpayments are the result of the employees, who were aged between 15 and their early 20s, being underpaid the minimum hourly rate.

Some employees were also underpaid annual and personal/carer’s leave entitlements and payment in lieu of notice of termination.

The biggest individual underpayment alleged is $18,512.

Mrs Dawe was allegedly also involved in failing to comply with Notices to Produce employment records, keep proper employment records and issue pay slips in line with workplace laws.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says a decision to prosecute was made because of the significant amount involved for vulnerable, young workers and the employer’s failure to rectify the matter.

Mrs Dawe was allegedly involved in committing multiple breaches of workplace laws. She faces maximum penalties of up to $6600 per breach.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a Court Order that any penalty imposed on Mrs Dawe go towards rectifying the alleged underpayments of the employees.

A directions hearing is listed for June 22 in the Federal Magistrates Court in Sydney.

The private company through which the four Subway outlets were operated between 2006 and 2011, Kijani Investments Pty Ltd, was placed into court-ordered liquidation earlier this year, preventing the Fair Work Ombudsman from prosecuting the company.

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

Media inquiries:

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

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