IGA owner accused of underpaying

by Angela Szczepanski and Troy Wild, NRA Legal

Fair Work Ombudsman commences legal action against IGA for underpaying employees

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has commenced legal proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court against a Melbourne IGA supermarket operator who allegedly underpaid six employees and submitted false records to the FWO.

The FWO have filed documents that show Mr Said “Sam” Haddad, majority owner and operator of the Fairfield IGA Supermarket and former majority owner and operator of Altona IGA Supermarket, paid flat rates to employees ranging from $15 to $20 an hour. This resulted in underpayments of the minimum hourly rates under the General Retail Industry Award 2010, casual loadings, overtime and penalty rates for evening, weekend and public holiday work.

The FWO has also filed other alleged contraventions being:

  • Failure to pay annual leave entitlements, uniform allowance and shift entitlement
  • Failure to comply with a Notice to Produce
  • Providing false time and wages records
  • Non-compliance with laws relating to pay slips, frequency of pay and agreeing in writing to a regular pattern of work with part-time employees.

Three of the employees were aged between 19 and 23 years old at the time of the alleged contraventions.

The prosecutions come as a result of the FWO investigating allegations made by some of the employees.

Mr Haddad could be fined up to $10,800 per contravention and the companies face up to $51,000 and $54,000 per contravention respectively.

In addition to the above fines the FWO is also seeking orders from the Court requiring the IGA Supermarkets to display a workplace notice detailing employee entitlements under the General Retail Industry Award. The FWO is also seeking an injunction against Mr Haddad (personally) restraining him from being involved in underpaying employees in the future. If granted, Mr Haddad could face contempt of court proceedings if he is found to be underpaying employees in the future.

If you have any further queries or wish to talk to someone about the law on employee entitlements or your legal obligations under the Modern Award, please call the NRA Hotline on 1800 RETAIL (1800 738 245).