Workplace laws breach lands Bundaberg firm in legal trouble

If found guilty, the refrigerated transport company faces maximum penalties of $54,000 per contravention

Workplace laws breach lands Bundaberg firm in legal trouble
The FWO had earlier put the company on employment obligations notice.


Queensland-based Bundaberg Refrigerated Transport faces legal action following complaints of employment obligation non-compliance.

The case follows a Fair Work Ombudsman investigation that concluded the company underpaid a worker $11,000 over a period of nine months.

The employee lodged a request for assistance with the FWO, which found that the company paid the employee a flat hourly rate of $23.

This was despite the employee’s entitlement to ordinary hourly rates of up to $26.09 as a casual employee, up to $41.74 for overtime and weekend work, and up to $52.18 on public holidays under the company’s enterprise agreement.

As a result, the employee was short-changed $11,451 between October 2014 and July 2015.

Following the investigation, the company back-paid the employee in full.

The FWO also found that the company allegedly also contravened workplace laws by underpaying annual leave entitlements, failing to provide the employee with the terms of employment in writing, and failing to provide a Fair Work Information Statement upon commencement of work.

It is alleged the underpayment occurred despite the Fair Work Ombudsman having previously informed Bundaberg Refrigerated Transport about its obligation to pay minimum lawful entitlements when investigating underpayment allegations from other workers.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the fact that the company had been put on notice to comply was a significant factor in the decision to commence legal action.

"We allege that this business has demonstrated an attitude of disregard for its employment obligations, despite having been formerly placed on notice by my agency that it was not paying workers correctly," James says.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking orders requiring the company to make hard copies of its enterprise agreement available at its premises, and to display workplace notices containing information about employee entitlements and FWO contact details.

A hearing has been set for August 3 at the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane.

If found in breach of its legal obligations the company could face maximum penalties of $54,000 per contravention.

The company transports refrigerated farm produce to various destinations across Australia, including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

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