Company fined $54k for ripping off truck driver

Ombudsman warns companies against ripping off drivers after a Melbourne business is slapped with a $54,000 fine

November 13, 2009

The fair pay watchdog has issued a warning to companies after a court fined a Melbourne business for ripping off its truck driver.

Melbourne Magistrates Court fined the operators of Melbourne food company Exclusive Food Houses $54,000 for underpaying the driver more than $32,000.

The companies back-paid the money owed after being contacted by inspectors from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

"We take significant underpayments of low-paid workers particularly seriously and so to do the courts," Fair Work Ombudsman Victorian Director Paul Werner says.

Exclusive Foods is made up of two companies, Exofun and Olara.

Olara was fined $37,000, while Exofun received a $2000 penalty. A director of both companies, Harry Friedman, was also fined $15,000 for his involvement.

Olara admitted underpaying the driver a total of $30,462 when it employed him between 2003 and 2008.

The driver was paid a flat rate of $11.17 when he should have been paid between $12.63 and $15.03 an hour.

Exofun admitted underpaying the driver $1798 when it employed him between June and October 2008, paying him $11.25 when the rate should have been $15.60.

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