Rockhampton car rental firm in court for allegedly underpaying worker almost $30,000

24 June 2013

A Rockhampton car rental firm is to face court for allegedly underpaying a worker almost $30,000 over a five year period.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched legal action against Central Car & Truck Rental Pty Ltd, which trades as Thrifty Car Rental in Rockhampton.

Also facing Court is Central Car & Truck Rental Pty Ltd company director, secretary and shareholder, John Edward Featherstone.

It is alleged the employee, who was aged 62 when his employment was terminated in 2012, was underpaid a total of $28,828.13 in wages and annual leave entitlements between June 2007 and August 2012.

The underpayments are alleged to have occurred through the failure to pay correct minimum rates of pay, weekend penalty rates, public holiday rates, overtime rates and annual leave entitlements.

Fair Work Inspectors discovered the underpayments when they investigated a complaint lodged by the employee.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman, Michael Campbell, said the significant amount of underpayment involved; the fact that as an older worker the employee was vulnerable, and; the failure of the company to rectify the underpayment were all factors in the decision to launch the legal action.

In addition, Mr Campbell said the fact that the company had other offices in the region reinforced the need to establish a strong deterrence.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking penalties from the Federal Circuit Court for multiple breaches of workplace laws, which attracts penalties of up to $33,000 per breach for the company and $6,600 per breach for Mr Featherstone.

The court action also seeks an order requiring the underpayment to the employee to be rectified.
The case has been listed for a First Directions Hearing in the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane on Wednesday 26 June 2013.

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

Media inquiries:

Tom McPherson, Media & Stakeholder Relations
0439 835 855
media@fwo.gov.au

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