Appliance Retailer Prosecuted For Underpaying Staff

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A Melbourne retailer of small appliances, homeware and lighting has been prosecuted for allegedly underpaying 43 workers more than $40,000.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is prosecuting Myst Oz Pty Ltd, which trades as The Grotto on Acland Street. The retailer sells, small appliances, gifts, lighting and homeware.

The Agency is also prosecuting the company’s sole director Rebecca Pearse, of St Kilda, alleging she was involved in the underpayments.

The Fair Work Ombudsman audited Myst Oz in 2008 after receiving complaints from workers.

Documents lodged in the Magistrates’ Court in Melbourne allege the company underpaid 43 employees a total of $40,916 between 2006 and 2008.

The workers were variously employed on a full-time or casual basis as shop assistants, storage service workers or retail managers.

The alleged underpayments related to the minimum hourly rate, annual leave entitlements and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and overtime work.

The biggest underpayment of an individual worker was $3021.

Myst Oz recently back-paid all 43 staff the money they were allegedly owed.

However, Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says a prosecution had been launched because of the large number of employees involved and the employer’s delay in rectifying the matter.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Myst Oz and Ms Pearce committed several breaches of workplace relations laws and is seeking penalties against them.

The maximum penalty per breach is $33,000 for Myst Oz and $6600 for Ms Pearse.

The Fair Work Ombudsman promotes harmonious, productive and co-operative workplaces. It also monitors compliance and investigates breaches of national workplace laws.

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