Australia's largest rail freight operator, Aurizon, has been ordered to provide the full pro-rata rate of pay to a train driver who was to receive a reduced amount under a compassionate grounds/short-term medical disability clause when she returned part-time from maternity leave.
A judge has raised questions about the FWBC's exercise of discretion in its failed pursuit of a "very small" business for sham contracting, but has accepted that the watchdog didn't initiate the case without reasonable cause.
In a lucrative Christmas/New Year period for the Commonwealth's coffers, the Federal Circuit Court has handed down penalties amounting to more than $580,000 in eight separate cases brought by the Fair Work Ombudsman against companies and their directors for breaches of the Fair Work Act.
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.
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.
A finance broking house that issued a Brisbane-based employee five payslips in six years and employed him on a commission-based agreement that it believed did not entitle him to base salary, sick pay, annual leave and superannuation entitlements has been ordered to pay him almost $124,000 in penalties.