Trolley collection business faces court
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a trolley collection business operating in Tasmania and its director.
Facing court are Adept Trolly Collection Services Pty Ltd, which operated at Kmart sites in Launceston, Burnie and Devonport, and company director Ahlam Osman.
The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Adept Trolly Collection Services Pty Ltd in May 2021 after forming a belief that five workers it had employed as trolley collectors across the three Kmart sites had been underpaid.
The workers included a number of visa holders and junior employees.
The inspector formed a belief that the workers had been underpaid entitlements under the Cleaning Services Award 2010 and Fair Work Act 2009 including minimum wages, junior rates, public holiday pay, shift work loadings, and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and overtime rates.
The Compliance Notice required Adept Trolly Collection Services Pty Ltd to rectify underpayments totalling $42,594.76.
The FWO alleges Adept Trolly Collection Services Pty Ltd, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required the back-payment of the workers’ outstanding entitlements. It’s alleged Ms Osman was involved in the contravention.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.
“Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers.”
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance,” Ms Parker said.
The FWO is seeking penalties against Adept Trolly Collection Services Pty Ltd and Ms Osman for allegedly failing to comply with the Compliance Notice. The company faces a maximum penalty of up to $33,300, while Ms Osman faces a maximum penalty of up to $6,660.
The regulator is also seeking an order, in the Federal Circuit and Family Court, for the company to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying the underpayments in full, plus interest and superannuation.
Employers and employees can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance about their rights and obligations in the workplace. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50. Small businesses can find targeted resources at the Small Business Showcase.