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Clothing Retailer Penalised $43,000 For Underpaying Casual Worker

Clothing retailer penalised $43,000 for underpaying casual worker

A clothing retailer has been penalised $43,375 for underpaying a casual worker and breaching record-keeping laws.

The court also found the employer ignored a Compliance Notice issued by the Fair Work Ombudsman requiring it to back-pay the worker.

Clothing retailer penalised for underpayments

The Federal Circuit Court penalised Zurel Pty Ltd, the former operator of the ‘316 Melbourne’ outlet in the Melbourne CBD, $36,146.

It also penalised the company’s director, Mr Ban Teik Chee, an additional $7,229.

The investigation

Fair Work commenced an investigation into the clothing store last year following a complaint from the worker.

Inspectors believed Chee failed to pay the worker proper wages and entitlements.

For example:

  • the lawful minimum hourly wage;
  • casual loadings; and
  • penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and evening work.

The inspectors subsequently issued Chee with a Compliance Notice requiring him to calculate the underpayments and back-pay the worker.

However, he admitted in court that he failed to do so.

He also admitted breaching record-keeping and pay slip laws.


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Serious consequences

Judge John O’Sullivan said there are serious consequences for ignoring a Compliance Notice.

“The failure to comply with the Notice properly issued by the applicant in the course of its investigations and the discharge of its statutory functions is serious.

“Recipients of such notices should be left under no misapprehension about their obligations to comply with those notices.”

In addition to the penalties, the court also ordered Zurel and Chee to rectify the underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said it will continue to enforce workplace laws during the pandemic.

“We make every effort to secure voluntary compliance with Compliance Notices, however, we will take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements. when they aren’t followed.”


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