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Fair Work Ombudsman orders Launceston fitness club owner to compensate instructor
The owner of two fitness clubs in the Tasmanian town of Launceston has been required to pay compensation to a casual fitness instructor stood down for questioning his entitlements.
The Fair Work Ombudsman recently ruled that the stand-down was unlawful and that the employee be reimbursed $2,179 for lost wages – the worker having suffered financial difficulties after losing his income being forced to vacate his rental accommodation.
In announcing the judgement, Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James explained that employees cannot be stood down for asking about their wages and conditions.
She explained “it is every worker’s right to make an inquiry or complaint in relation to their employment, without fear of reprisal.
“At the Fair Work Ombudsman, we pro-actively encourage employees to take their disputes directly to their employer in the first instance and to try to resolve the issue without the need for our intervention.”
James said that the instructor, who had been employed from July 2012 until September 2014, was stood down and not offered any work for 10 weeks after he complained about his wages.
His employer, Mark Connelley, who trades as EFM Windsor and EFM Launceston, has now signed an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman as an alternative to litigation.
James says Connelley was given several opportunities to resolve the matter, but failed to do so, leaving the Agency with no option but to take enforcement measures.
Under the terms of the EU, Connelley was required to:
• Pay $2,179 compensation to the employee,
• Issue an apology to the affected employee,
• Place a public notice in the Launceston Examiner detailing his contraventions and action taken to remedy them,
• Display a workplace notice at both his work sites explaining the incident,
• Register with the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Online tool, My Account, Undergo ‘Hiring an Employee’ Training, and
• Develop and implement a workplace grievance and complaints procedure.
The Fair Work Ombudsman's website contains a range of tools and resources to assist employers and workers understand and comply with workplace laws.
Small to medium-sized businesses without human resources staff can ensure they are better equipped when hiring, managing and dismissing employees by using the free template employment documentation available online.
For more information go to www.fairwork.gov.au
Image used for illustrative purposes only.
24th September 2015 - ARRESTED ADELAIDE GYM MANAGER HAS UNFAIR DISMISSAL CASE DISMISSED
26th November 2012 - FAIR WORK AUSTRALIA MAKES CHANGES TO FITNESS INDUSTRY AWARD
1st August 2012 - SOCIAL MEDIA CHANGING THE GAME FOR GYMS AND PERSONAL TRAINERS
12th April 2011 - FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN FOCUSES ON QUEENSLAND FITNESS
18th June 2010 - FITNESS AUSTRALIA TO APPEAL COPYRIGHT TRIBUNAL DECISION
12th June 2008 - SKILLS SHORTAGES HIT SPORT AND RECREATION
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