Service station operator fined for underpaying more than 200 employees

7 November 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.

A national service station operator has been fined $46,200 for underpaying more than 200 employees.

The penalty has been imposed against Freedom Fuels Australia Pty Ltd - a Brisbane-based company which operates service stations in Queensland, Victoria and NSW - in the Federal Magistrates Court in Brisbane.

The penalty is the result of a prosecution by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Freedom Fuels Australia admitted in Court that it underpaid 234 employees a total of $191,197 between May, 2006 and July, 2009.

The employees, including a number of juniors aged under-21, worked as casual and part-time console operators.

A total of 169 employees in Queensland - at locations including Brisbane, Toowoomba and Goondiwindi - were underpaid $112,615.

Fifty-six employees in Victoria - at locations including Melbourne, Sale, Traralgon, Churchill, Moe and Morwell - were underpaid $73,905, and nine employees in NSW - at Kingscliff and Moree - were underpaid $4677.

The employees were underpaid overtime rates and penalty rates for weekend, shift and public holiday work.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says the Court’s decision sends a message that underpaying low-paid, vulnerable workers is a serious matter.

Freedom Fuels Australia has directly back-paid the underpaid workers it has been able to locate - and has paid to the Collector of Public Monies all entitlements owing to the many underpaid workers it has not been able to locate.

Any former employee of Freedom Fuels who believes the Collector of Public Monies may be holding back-pay owed to them should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or use the ‘Unclaimed Money’ search facility available at www.fairwork.gov.au.

Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline or visit the website. 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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