Employee Query – Termination Payout

Employee Query – Termination Payout

The operator of a former Gloria Jean’s coffee shop in Sydney’s Kings Cross has paid $2000 in compensation to a worker who was sacked after she queried her pay rate.

The payment is part of an enforceable undertaking the franchisee entered into with the Fair Work Ombudsman to avoid litigation. It follows recent court action taken by the watchdog against one of Gloria Jean’s Melbourne franchisees involving over $83,000 in underpayments.

The company that operated the Gloria Jean’s franchise at the Kings Cross Shopping Centre was also forced to issue a written apology after the employee questioned her $12 an hour pay rate.

When the employee queried the rate of pay, the employer cancelled the employee’s next rostered shift and terminated their employment via email.

When the employee took her complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman, the watchdog found the Employer contravened the Fair Work Act when it cancelled her rostered shift and dismissed her for querying employment conditions.

The company agreed to pay the employee $2000 in compensation for economic and non-economic losses suffered as a consequence of the adverse action, and to write to all affected employees offering its “sincere regret”.

A subsequent investigation found Senan had underpaid another 15 other staff over $16,000 between June 2011 and July 2013. This included one employee who was owed more than $8000 back-pay. The company had also failed to keep proper employment records.

The company had underpaid staff mostly aged between 17 and 20, on their minimum rate of pay, casual loadings, weekend penalty rates and payment of accrued entitlements on termination.

The Employer was also required to undertake workplace relations training on the rights and responsibilities of employers.

This case should serve as a reminder that all employees have a lawful right to question their workplace entitlements.

Michael O'Shaughnessy

Michael is a specialist in all things HR. With vast HR experience in the USA and Australia, Michael brings a wealth of knowledge and advice to HR Central. When he's not blogging for HR Central you can find him out for dinner in one of Melbourne's newest restaurants.

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