Officeworks underpaid staff, says union

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Officeworks failed to roster staff properly or pay them the correct overtime, the retail union has claimed in a new Federal Court lawsuit.

The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association filed the case on Thursday seeking compensation for 70 employees who allege they were underpaid. The union is also seeking pecuniary penalties.

Officeworks allegedly breached its store operations enterprise agreement and the Fair Work Act by failing to roster staff for a prescribed maximum of 19 days in a four-week cycle, and then neglecting to pay overtime for hours worked in excess of this limit.

After employees at the store in Fairy Meadow, NSW raised concerns in August 2020, the union took the dispute to the Fair Work Commission.

Fair Work Commissioner Bernie Riordan ruled in the SDA's favour in September last year, and an appeal by Officeworks was rejected by the commission's full bench a few months later in December.

According to court documents, Officeworks engaged in "serious contraventions" by then refusing to follow the FWC's decisions.

"By virtue of its conduct in refusing to be bound by the Riordan and the Full Bench Decisions, Officeworks' conduct was part of a systematic pattern of conduct," the union wrote.

In a statement, Officeworks denied the allegations, saying it had remained compliant when paying staff.

"Officeworks is committed to ensuring that our team is paid on time and paid correctly. We highly value our team members and seek at all times to ensure we comply with the law to deliver team member entitlements and benefits," they said.

"Officeworks disputes the SDA's allegations but as the matter is now before the Federal Court, it is not appropriate for Officeworks to comment further at this time."

The SDA has also been approached for comment.

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