Monday, 15 October 2018 11:55

Lycamobile again runs foul of court with hefty fine Featured

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Lycamobile again runs foul of court with hefty fine Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mobile service provider Lycamobile has been penalised $25,000 for underpaying an employee’s wages, including full overtime entitlements.

The penalty in the Federal Circuit Court on Monday, as a result of action by the Fair Work Ombudsman, comes in the wake of a penalty of $12,600 imposed on Lycamobile just last week after it failed to follow an ACMA direction to comply with the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code.

The $25,000 penalty was secured by the Fair Work Ombudsman after Lycamobile admitted underpaying an administrative employee at its NSW office in Parramatta a total of $5264 in overtime entitlements.

Between 2012 and 2015, the employee was routinely required to work more than 38 hours per week and worked on Saturdays. However, she was not paid the full overtime entitlements under the Telecommunication Services Award 2010.

In a separate matter, the Fair Work Ombudsman secured a $59,400 penalty against the same company for underpaying 13 employees in Adelaide and Brisbane a total of $28,034 in 2013.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from the employee.

“Under Australia’s workplace laws, employers are legally obliged to pay employees their full minimum entitlements. The Fair Work Ombudsman is prepared to take enforcement action if a business disregards that obligation,” Parker warned.

“It is unacceptable for an employer to continue to underpay employee entitlements after being formally sanctioned by the Court. This penalty sends a clear message that repeat breaches of workplace laws will be met with a serious response.”

Judge Sylvia Emmett found that the underpayment was the result of Lycamobile’s “recklessness, rather than mere accident” and that it was “egregious” that the company had failed to take steps to ensure compliance after being penalised in 2013.

“I accept that a meaningful penalty is one that sends a message to employers and the public at large that repeat offending is serious and should be treated as such by the Court,” Judge Emmett said.

The worker received full backpay before the Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action in 2017.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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