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Online Gay Advertising Business Facing Penalties For Underpayments

Online gay advertising business facing penalties for underpayments

An online gay advertising business is facing thousands of dollars in penalties for allegedly underpaying five employees.

The Fair Work Ombudsman also accuses the employer of ignoring a Compliance Notice requiring it to back-pay the workers.

Online gay advertising business allegedly didn’t pay staff

Facing the Federal Circuit Court is PEBS Group Pty Ltd based in Melbourne, and the company’s sole director, Shane McGrath.

McGrath sells advertising space on his online directory www.rainbowflag.com.au.

Fair Work commenced an investigation as a result of receiving complaints from the workers.

McGrath employed them to act as telemarketers to cold call gay-friendly businesses to try and convince them to buy advertising space on the directory.

However, an inspector formed the belief the McGrath had underpaid the workers between June and August 2019.

In fact, Fair Work alleges McGrath didn’t pay four of the employees any wages at all.

It also alleges he failed to pay the other proper wages for all hours worked, resulting in underpayment of his wages and leave entitlements.

As a result, the inspector issued McGrath with a Compliance Notice requiring him to calculate and back-pay the employees.

Fair Work says that McGrath subsequently failed to do so.

Ombudsman enforcing workplace laws

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator will continue to enforce workplace laws, despite the on-going pandemic. 

“Where employers do not comply with our requests, we will take appropriate action to protect employees.

“A court can order the business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers.”


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Penalties

The regulator is seeking penalties against PEBS Group and McGrath.

It is also seeking orders for McGrath to rectify the underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.

PEBS Group is facing a maximum penalty of $31,500, while McGrath is facing a maximum penalty of $6,300.

The Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne has a directions hearing listed on 11 November 2020.


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