Australia’s workplace watchdog the Fair Work Ombudsman has fined major service station chain Westside Petroleum and three of its management staff for underpaying 22 employees a total of $62,393.

Westside Petroleum were fined a total of $57,000 in penalties by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The underpayments occurred at 12 petrol stations for periods between July 2015 and May 2016.

According to  a statement by the Fair Work Ombudsman, the underpayments were the result of Westside Petroleum generally paying employees unlawfully low, flat rates ranging from AUD $15 to $25  an hour. This resulted in underpayment of employees’ casual weekday, weekend, public holiday and overtime rates under the Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award. Inspectors audited Westside Petroleum following requests for assistance from employees.

All employees have been back-paid in full.

Judge Robert Cameron found that the underpayments were deliberate and said they were “not insignificant”.

“It is unacceptable that Westside Petroleum focussed on the growth of its business and failed to have proper regard to very basic employer obligations,” Judge Cameron said.

Judge Cameron ordered the company to provide its franchisees with information about workplace laws and display workplace notices providing information on workplace laws.

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