Payment of Wages – Underpayments

Payment of Wages – Underpayments

The term “adverse action” is becoming much more common in regards to workplace rights. The simple definition of it is if and employer takes action against an employee for exercising a workplace right or proposing to express that workplace right.

A prime example of this is where a company took unlawful adverse action when it stopped giving shifts to a casual bartender who complained of being underpaid. After notifying management that he had not been paid the award rates due to him, he started to have his shifts reduced. This was a a clear breach of the adverse action provisions.

As a result a Federal Court Judge ordered the company to pay $11,000 compensation. This was to cover distress, hurt, and humiliation. It found that the company had contravened the Fair Work Act’s adverse action provisions. Specifically,  when it removed the bartender from its roster after he sought to be repaid money owed to him for several months of bartending and glass collecting work.

Overall, the bartender was owed $2,696.91 in unpaid wages; $4,964 lost wages between his last shift on 6 January and his starting a new job on 6 March 2014; $459.17 in unpaid superannuation and $2,500 for distress, hurt, and humiliation, plus interest.

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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