Bunbury company cops big fine for under-paying employees

A company that operated two Bunbury businesses has been fined almost $140,000 for underpaying its employees by more than $20,000.
A company that operated two Bunbury businesses has been fined almost $140,000 for underpaying its employees by more than $20,000.

A company that operated two Bunbury businesses has been fined almost $140,000 for underpaying its employees by more than $20,000.

Federal Court Justice Antoni Lucev also ordered company director Mark Ross Gumley and business manager Gemma Gumley to pay fines totalling $15,000.

During court proceedings in Perth, Koojedda Carpentry Pty Ltd, which operated the Hidden Gem Cafe in Gelorup and the Dalycious Deli in Dalyellup, admitted 17 breaches of the Fair Work Act.

The breaches involved the company paying under award wages, failing to pay out unused annual leave upon termination of employment, failing to provide records and documents, and failing to provide its employees with pay slips.

Mr Gumley and Ms Gumley were found to be “involved” in some of the breaches.

The company operated the Hidden Gem Cafe from mid-2012 and the Dalycious Deli from 2014. Both businesses closed in early 2016.

A total of eight employees were affected by the underpayments and the court has ordered Koojedda Carpentry to pay them a combined total of more than $20,000.

They will also share in the $15,000 fine to be paid by the Gumleys, while the $140,000 fine will be paid to the Commonwealth.

The court was told that seven of the eight employees had not been paid at all for some of their work, while one worker was paid as little as $9.75 per hour, for a time.

Complaints were made to Fair Work Australia while the business was still operating, but the breaches continued.

In deciding on the penalty, Justice Lucev said the company was no longer trading and the Gumleys were unemployed and had limited financial means.

“The Court does not accept that the conduct of Koojedda Carpentry, Mr Gumley and Ms Gumley was, in its totality, not deliberate,” Justice Lucev said, in determining the penalty.

“… This conduct has the characteristic of wilful disregard, or deliberateness, rather than reckless disregard, and particularly so with respect to those of the employees who were not paid at all for various periods.”