Home' Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine : Australian Auto Aftermarket e-Zine - March 14 Contents 90 AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET MAGAZINE MARCH 2014
Extracts from the Media Release are as
"Mildura Battery Company Pty Ltd, which
operates a wholesale battery business, has
been penalised $39,270 and company
director Michael John Marquick has been
fined a further $7854.
Judge Frank Turner handed down the
penalties in Melbourne in February following
legal action initiated by the Fair Work
Ombudsman. Judge Turner also instructed
the company to fully rectify a $66,580
underpayment - the large majority of which
remains outstanding - and to pay additiona
interest of $3230.
The Court has given Marquick and Mildura
Battery Company until March 17 to back-pay
the worker all outstanding entitlements and to
May 19 to pay the penalty. The employee, a
store worker aged in his 30s, was underpaid
between 2007 and 2013, primarily because
he was paid flat rates of $11.08 an hour for
ordinary time and $13.85 an hour for
overtime. He was entitled to receive up to
$17.63 for ordinary hours and up to $26.45
for overtime. The employee's annual leave
entitlements were also underpaid.
The Court found that the underpayments
were initially "careless", rather than
deliberate, but noted they continued after the
Fair Work Ombudsman identified the
contraventions, describing the ongoing
conduct as "deliberate or negligent in the
In his written decision, Judge Turner said
Mildura Battery Company and Marquick had
not apologised directly to the employee and
had not displayed "a suitable and credible
expression of regret" to the employee, who
had suffered "grave" loss. "He deposes that
it was a struggle to pay his bills on time, at
one stage his car broke down and he could not
afford to fix it; at times he had to ride a
bicycle to get around," Judge Turner said.
"The effect on his life has been profound."
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says
Fair Work inspectors made extensive efforts to
secure voluntary back-pay, but could not
secure sufficient rectification action from the
employer. "We will not hesitate to take legal
action, where it is in the public interest, to
enforce compliance and ensure employee
entitlements are protected," Ms James said.
underpaid employee potentially being unable
to recover his entitlements. However, Judge
Turner labelled this submission
"inappropriate", noting that "the root cause
of those possible repercussions is the failure
by the respondents to comply with the law".
Judge Turner observed a need for both specific
and general deterrence. "Penalties must be
imposed that will act to prevent further
breaches," he said.
"The Court does not find that the penalties
will be crushing or oppressive. They are an
appropriate response to the conduct that led
to the breaches."
Judge Turner dismissed the respondents'
submission about media coverage of their
breaches in the Sunraysia Daily newspaper
when legal action was announced last year.
He accepted the Fair Work Ombudsman's
submission that embarrassment suffered as a
result of the publicity flowing from an
enforcement action is one of the prices to pay,
or an inevitable consequence of their conduct.
Judge Turner was also critical of the
respondents' offer to back-pay the employee
over five years. "The Court finds that offer to
be absurd, and questions the genuineness of
any contrition," he said.
Judge Turner found the respondents were
"not prioritising the rectification of the
underpayments over their other financial
interests". "That lack of corrective action
shows that the respondents have learnt little of
their need to comply with statutory
requirements and to obtain authoritative
advice," he said. "The respondents cannot
say 'we cannot afford to pay and will go into
liquidation if a heavy penalty is imposed'."
Judge Turner found that to allow
businesses to operate in that way would create
a category of underpaid workers who were
being exploited to subsidise inefficient or
otherwise unprofitable business operations."
A MILDURA BATTERY COMPANY AND DIRECTOR
FINED ALMOST $50,000 FOR UNDERPAYING STAFF
HOW WE CAN HELP
We highly recommend that all members
ensure that they are paying their staff
correctly and should request a pay scale
summary of their applicable Modern Award
from AAAA Employer Assist if they are
Should any member receive contact from the
Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman and they
are unsure if they are compliant with the Fair
Work Act or Modern Award/s they should
contact the AAAA Employer Assist hotline for
assistance on 1300 735 306.
On February 21, 2014 the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman released a media release in relation to the recent prosecution of a
Mildura battery company owner (NOT a AAAA member!) who failed to apologise to an employee who was underpaid over six years.
The company and Director have been fined almost $50,000 in the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne.
Office of Fair Work Ombudsman, 2014
Links Archive Australian Auto Aftermarket e-Zine - Performance Australian Auto Aftermarket e-Zine - April 14 Navigation Previous Page Next Page