Operator hauled to court over alleged underpayments

Workplace watchdog prosecutes Victorian trucking company, alleging it underpaid a driver almost $50,000

Operator hauled to court over alleged underpayments
Operator hauled to court over alleged underpayments

February 21, 2012

A Victorian trucking company will face court accused of ripping off one of its drivers to the tune of almost $50,000 over a five-year period.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched a prosecution against Foure Mile and its manager and part-owner, Malcolm Garry Leech.

The company, based at Newstead in the Goldfields region, is accused of underpaying its 53-year-old truckie $48,381 between November 2005 and August 2010.

According to the Ombudsman, most of the underpayments stem from the driver allegedly receiving a cents-per-kilometre rate of 17 to 23 cents when it should have been 28 to 33 cents per kilometre.

Court documents also allege the driver was underpaid wages, annual leave entitlements, public holiday pay and wages in lieu of notice.

Fair Work inspectors discovered the alleged underpayment when they investigated a complaint from the employee.

The Ombudsman alleges Leech, who is also Foure Mile’s sole director, was involved in underpaying the driver.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says a decision to prosecute was made because of the significant amount involved and the employer’s failure to rectify the matter.

The government agency is seeking a court order for the company to reimburse the driver, while Foure Mile and Leech are also facing allegations of committing several breaches of workplace laws.

The Ombudsman says the maximum potential penalty per breach is $6600 for Leech and $33,000 for the company.

The case is listed for a directions hearing on May 29 in the Federal Magistrates Court in Melbourne.

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