A Sydney-based security company has been penalised more than $39,000 for ‘reckless’ underpayments of dozens of workers.
The Federal Circuit Court penalised John Lohr and his two companies a total of $35,540 for underpayment 45 guards.
Security company penalised for ‘reckless’ underpayments
The underpayments happened when Lohr decided to pay the guards flat hourly rates of $20 to $25.
As a result, he failed to pay lawful rates for weekend, night work, overtime and public holiday entitlements or their casual loadings.
Lohr also failed to pay proper broken shift allowances.
As a result, he underpaid one worker $9,756.
What the court said
Judge Nicholas Manousaridis found Lohr knew a Modern Award applied to his employees.
Despite this, he chose to pay them the flat rates, not knowing if they were enough to meet lawful award rates.
He described Lohr’s decision to pay flat rates as “reckless” and also found no evidence he took corrective action.
“The penalty should be set to signal to employers generally the importance of complying with the Fair Work Act and with complying with awards that cover them and their employees.”
No excuse for wage theft
Miles Heffernan from Fair Work Claims says there is no excuse for wage theft.
“Business groups continue to argue that wage theft happens as a result of ‘innocent’ mistakes by employers – well, we say that is nonsense,” he said.
“Here we have a case of an employer deciding to deliberately ignore the relevant Award.
“It is wilful negligence, and, as usual, it is workers who pay the price.
“Wage theft is a crime, and should be treated as such.
The Court ordered the penalty imposed on Lohr be used to back-pay the guards.
Please call our specialist team at Fair Work Claims on
1300 324 748
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