A hair salon operator has been penalised $77,000 after ripping off a teenage apprentice more than $14,000.
The Federal Court penalised Jakoub Abboud and his company, Hair-Rass Me, $7,873 and $70,000 respectively for the wage theft.
Hair salon penalised
The apprentice, aged between 15 and 17 years-old, worked for Hair-Rass Me for more than a year as her first job.
Abboud underpaid her $14,507 over a period of 12-months starting in July 2015.
In one week, Abboud paid the apprentice just $300, well short of the legal amount of $653.90.
Additionally, Abboud failed to pay:
- correct minimum apprentice rates for ordinary hours;
- penalty rates for weekends and public holidays and annual leave entitlements;
- in addition to overtime entitlements.
The company also failed to pay any superannuation, and furthermore, failed to reimburse her the cost of a training course.
The Fair Work Ombudsman previously made Abboud aware of his legal obligations to pay proper minimum award rates.
What the experts say
Miles Heffernan from Fair Work Claims has long campaigned for tougher penalties for bosses who engage in wage theft.
“Yet another greedy employer thinks it’s okay to steal money from his hard working apprentice,” he said.
“And incredibly, employer groups still argue that underpayments happen as a result of innocent mistakes – what utter nonsense.
“It’s time wage theft is made a crime, so dodgy bosses like Mr Abboud earn a conviction and possibly even a jail sentence, just like every other common thief.”
In addition to the penalties, the Federal Circuit Court also ordered Abboud to back-pay the apprentice in full, plus interest.
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