The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has secured almost $200,000 in penalties against the operators of a 7-Eleven outlet in Brisbane for short-changing overseas workers – then creating false records to try to cover it up.
Manager and part-owner of the 7-Eleven fuel outlet at 508 Vulture Street in East Brisbane, Avinash Pratap Singh, has been penalised $32,130. A company of which he is a director, S & A Enterprises (Qld) Pty Ltd, has been penalised another $160,650.
The penalties are the result of an FWO investigation and legal action following media coverage relating to the outlet in 2015.
Inspectors found that the employees, both international students from India aged in their mid-20s, had been underpaid a total of $5593 for short periods of work in 2014. The underpayments have since been rectified.
Judge Vasta said: “Not only is it blight upon the system for workers to be exploited in this way, it also enables a business such as that of the respondents to unfairly profit.”
Singh and S & A Enterprises also made false entries into the 7-Eleven head-office payroll system and the company knowingly gave false time-and-wage records to the FWO.
Judge Vasta said the entering of inaccurate hours and pay rates into the payroll system “created records that appeared to show that the employees were paid at the rates of pay prescribed by the modern award, including penalty rates and overtime rates of pay, which actually bore no relation to their hours of work or actual hourly rates”.
On top the penalties, Judge Vasta ordered Singh and S & A Enterprises to pay $2747 in FWO legal costs.
These penalties are the latest in a string of penalties secured by the FWO against 7-Eleven franchisees nationally, including six cases in Brisbane.