Furniture delivery business operators in court for allegedly underpaying part-time delivery driver

The FWO is seeking penalties for the alleged failure to comply with the Compliance Notice.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operators of a furniture delivery business in Victoria’s Gippsland region.

Facing court are Harris Group Co Pty Ltd, which formerly traded as ‘Harris Trucking’ in Traralgon, and the company’s sole director, Matthew Harris.

The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from a worker who was employed at the business on a part-time basis as a delivery driver between September 2021 and January 2022.

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A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Harris Group in April 2022 after forming a belief the worker had been underpaid overtime and Saturday penalty rates, owed under the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2020, and annual leave entitlements, owed under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Harris Group, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to calculate and back-pay the worker’s entitlements.

It is alleged Mr Harris was involved in the contravention.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.

“Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers,” Ms Hannah said.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance.”

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The FWO is seeking penalties for the alleged failure to comply with the Compliance Notice. Harris Group faces a penalty of up to $33,300 and Mr Harris faces a penalty of up to $6,660.

The regulator is also seeking orders for Harris Group to rectify the alleged underpayment in full, plus interest and superannuation.

A hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 6 October 2023.

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