The recent case of Fair Work Ombudsman v F.L. Press Pty Ltd & Anor (No 2) [2015] FCCA 2967 (4 November 2015) serves as a timely reminder to employers to seek advice as to the appropriate classification of employees, and be mindful of what actions might be considered adverse to the employee and open the company to a variety of workplace claims.

A journalist employed for eight years at a Serbian language newspaper, Novosti, had been underpaid at a level lower than the commensurate skills he was using and tasks he was completing.

The Press Company argued that the employee was not a journalist, but rather a Junior Clerical Worker. Additionally, the employer took the following actions:

  1. Told the journalist that if he didn’t agree to have the unspecific entitlements paid in instalments he would “get nothing”.
  2. Forced him to perform his colleague’s work as well as his own.
  3. Forced him to reduce his work to 2 days per work from full-time employment.
  4. Dismissed him in 2011 after he complained.

Judge Cameron ordered the Press Company to pay approximately $128,000 to the Journalist for contraventions of the Workplace Relations Act and Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). The Judge is yet to determine whether the company may face additional penalties.

Click here to read the full case.

If you your business need assistance with a workplace matter, contact NRA’s Employment Team on 1800 RETAIL (738 245).

DISCLAIMER: Please note, this article contains general information only and does not constitute legal advice. For advice regarding your circumstances, please contact the National Retail Association on 07 3240 0100.