The Federal Court has fined a company almost $200,000 for underpaying its aged care workers more than $2.5m over a five year period, finding that its unlawful employment practices might have given it an unfair competitive advantage.
A long history of employee complaints and the need to send a strong message to the hair and beauty industry that "it does not pay to underpay workers" has led to a hairdressing chain being fined $70,000 for short-changing an apprentice more than $8,000.
A hotel management company that took unlawful adverse action when it stopped giving shifts to a casual bartender who complained of being underpaid has been ordered to pay $11,000 compensation, including a sum for distress, hurt, and humiliation.
Supermarket giant Coles will conduct random wage audits of its trolley collection contractors, back pay 10 employees more than $220,000 and establish a $500,000 fund for any future underpayment claims, as part of an agreement with the Fair Work Ombudsman that acknowledges the company's "ethical and moral responsibility" to look after workers on its sites.
In what four judges agree is an "extraordinary case" involving a "spectacularly bad witness" and a "serial fraudster", a Swan Hill shop assistant will keep almost half a million dollars in back pay and interest after a full Federal Court confirmed that she had not agreed to work for nothing.
Giving teenage employees free and discounted pizzas and soft drink instead of wages – a practice belonging "in the dark ages rather than twenty first century Australia" – has cost a pizza franchise operator $335,000 in fines.