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FWO Pursues Caltex Franchisee

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By James Sanders, Associate, MST Lawyers

In 2016, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) audited 15 Caltex franchisees as part of their ‘proactive compliance activity’ programme.  The initiative was the FWO’s response to concerns raised about underpayments and non-compliance within the Caltex network.

One Caltex franchisee, Mr Dagher, and his company Aulion Pty Ltd were provided with Notices to Produce relating to six overseas employees, five of whom were international students.

The FWO had concerns that the franchisee’s records did not accurately reflect the actual payments to employees, and further Notices to Produce were issued to the franchisee’s accountant, one bank and a superannuation fund.

The FWO alleges that the documents and records obtained from the third parties were inconsistent with those previously obtained due falsification by Dagher and Aulion. As a result, the FWO could not complete a full audit.

Natalie James, Fair Work Ombudsman, stated that legal action had commenced because allegedly providing false information that frustrates attempts to check whether vulnerable employees have been paid correctly is very serious conduct. 

The FWO further alleges that Aulion failed to provide its employees with accurate pay slips within one day of their applicable pay day.

Dagher faces maximum penalties of $3,600 per contravention and Aulion faces penalties of up to $18,000 per contravention.

The matter is listed for a directions hearing on 21 December 2017.

For more information, contact our Employment Law team by calling +61 3 8540 0200 or send an email to workplace@mst.com.au