A ROCKINGHAM security company is facing court for allegedly underpaying its guards more than $200,000.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has started legal action against Sureguard Security Pty Ltd, alleging it underpaid 22 security guards a total of $205,408 between December, 2014 and January, 2016.
The Fair Work Ombudsman conducted a self-initiated audit of Sureguard Security in October, 2015 as part of proactive campaign in Perth’s southern suburbs.
It is alleged that Fair Work inspectors found guards were paid flat hourly rates of between $21.50 and $24 for static guard work and $25 for patrol work.
This allegedly led to the workers being variously underpaid their minimum hourly rates, casual loadings, overtime pay and penalty rates for night, weekend and public holiday work under the Security Services Industry Award.
The Fair Work Ombudsman claims 13 of the guards worked permanent night shifts.
Alleged underpayments of individual workers range from $227 to $20,174.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the significant size of the underpayments and the failure to rectify the matter were key factors in the decision to commence litigation.
The company faces maximum penalties of up to $54,000 per contravention for several alleged contraventions of workplace laws.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking court orders for the company to back pay the workers in full and to commission workplace relations training for its managers.
An injunction restraining Sureguard Security from underpaying workers in future is also being sought.
If the injunction is granted, the company could face contempt of court proceedings for any further underpayment contraventions proven in court.
A directions hearing was scheduled in the Federal Court in Perth.
Sureguard Security was contacted, but declined to comment .
Ms James said payment of flat rates leading to underpayments of guards is a persistent problem in the security industry and improving compliance in the industry will continue to be a focus for the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available by calling 13 14 50.