The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a total of $31,968 in penalties in court against a Brisbane-based road freight transport company and a company director.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a $26,640 penalty against Alpine Fresh Pty Ltd, which transports food and other goods, and a $5,328 penalty against company director Mitchel McAlpine.
The penalties were imposed in response to Alpine Fresh failing to comply with Compliance Notices requiring the back-payment of entitlements to two workers who were employed at Alpine Fresh on a casual basis as drivers. Mr McAlpine was involved in the contraventions.
Alpine Fresh fully back-paid the workers only after the Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal proceedings.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face court-imposed penalties on top of having to back-pay workers.
“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” Ms Parker said.
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”
The regulator investigated after receiving requests for assistance from the affected workers.
One worker was employed from October 2014 to July 2020 and the other was employed from October 2018 to September 2020.
A Fair Work inspector issued two Compliance Notices to Alpine Fresh in March 2021 after forming a belief the two workers had been underpaid the minimum cents-per-kilometre rate owed under the Road Transport and Distribution Award (Long Distance Operations) 2010 and the Road Transport and Distribution Award (Long Distance Operations) 2020.
It was alleged one of the workers was also underpaid casual loading rates under the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010 and Road Transport and Distribution Award 2020.