Brisbane bakery fined $26k for ripping off teen worker
A Brisbane bakery who ripped off a teen worker by underpaying her wages then failed to accept they broke workplace laws and comply with investigators' demands has been fined nearly $30,000 by a court after action by the wages watchdog.
Mount Ommaney Bakehouse (MOB) owner T & Sons Pty Ltd and its manager Rosa Vo, of Mt Ommaney, have been fined a total of $26,460 by Federal Circuit Court judge Michael Jarrett for failing to comply with formal demands from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).
The FWO demanded the MOB identify how many hours the casual shop assistant had worked, and calculate what she should have been paid, and provide the details to the FWO.
But Judge Jarrett found the MOB had ignored requests made in January to calculate and back-pay entitlements owing to the 15-year-old employee who had worked as a casual shop assistant at the Bakehouse in February and March last year.
Judge Jarrett found the failure to comply by both the MOB and Ms Vo was a deliberate choice and Ms Vo had not expressed any regret for her actions.
Judge Jarrett said the fine reflected the fact that courts would not tolerate employers ignoring their obligations toward staff.
The company was fined $22,050 and Ms Vo was fined $4,410.
He stated in his reasons that MOB had failed to co-operate with the investigation, failed to admit their offending conduct or participate in the case before the Federal Circuit Court.
Only after the FWO filed for default judgment did MOB pay $860 to the worker.
They did not explain how they calculated this sum.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said businesses that fail to respond to compliance notices can face fines as well as back-payment of wages.
"Compliance notices are important tools used by inspectors to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements, and we will not tolerate them being ignored. We make every effort to secure voluntary compliance with compliance notices but where they are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action," Ms Parker said.
"The Fair Work Ombudsman will continue to take action through both enforcement and education to improve workplace compliance in 2021. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance."
Originally published as Brisbane bakery fined $26k for ripping off teen worker