The operators of a Perth aeroplane propeller business have been fined more than $15,000 after a 16-year-old boy was sacked immediately after his mother queried his pay.
Port Kennedy businessman Stephen Ashley has been fined $2640 and his company West Coast Propellers Pty Ltd has been ordered to pay a further $13,200 penalty after action by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
The penalties were imposed by the Federal Magistrate’s Court after Ashley admitted being involved in his company breaching the teenager’s workplace rights.
The 16-year-old was hired in November 2010 and told he would be paid $5.32 an hour. His mother raised the issue of her son’s pay at a meeting with Ashley after contacting the Fair Work Infoline and being advised his pay rate should be more than $7 an hour.
Straight after the meeting, Ashley told the teenager his employment had been terminated.
Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said the decision highlighted that breaching a young worker’s rights was a serious matter.
“Under the Fair Work Act, it is unlawful to dismiss or take any other adverse action against an employee for exercising a workplace right, such as querying or complaining about pay rates,” Mr Wilson said.
“We treat breaches of young workers’ rights particularly seriously because young workers are often not aware of their rights or can be reluctant to complain.
“Employers must take steps to ensure they treat young workers fairly at all times and we can assist those who are unsure of their obligations.”