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The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against another Caltex franchisee in Sydney. For underpaying employees and providing falsified wage records during a compliance audit.

Facing the Federal Circuit Court are Mohammad Arif Rana and his family’s company, Abdul Wahid and Sons Pty Ltd, which was formerly the franchisee of a number of Caltex service stations, including two outlets north-west of Sydney at Dural and Ermington. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated the outlets last year as part of a proactive compliance activity involving audits of 25 Caltex service stations nationally.

The activity was conducted in response to concerns about underpayments and other non-compliance issues within Caltex’s network of franchisee-operated outlets.

The legal action comes after the Fair Work Ombudsman announced in December it had commenced legal action against the former franchisee of the Caltex Five Dock service station in inner-western Sydney for allegedly knowingly providing false records to the Fair Work Ombudsman during the compliance activity.

In the latest case, the Fair Work Ombudsman issued Abdul Wahid and Sons Pty Ltd with a Notice to Produce and Mr Rana and the company provided timesheets, payroll records and pay slips purporting to show the hours worked and wage rates for 15 employees at the Dural and Ermington service stations.

It is alleged the Fair Work Ombudsman discovered that the time and wage records provided could not be correct because the company had been knowingly using its payroll software in a manner that produced false records.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that Mr Rana and Abdul Wahid and Sons Pty Ltd knowingly provided the Fair Work Ombudsman with false and misleading records.

It is alleged that Mr Rana and the company also contravened laws requiring employers to issue employees with accurate pay slips within one day of pay day.

The absence of accurate time-and-wages records prevented the Fair Work Ombudsman from completing a full audit to determine whether employees at the Dural and Ermington outlets had been paid their full lawful entitlements.

For the false records matters, Mr Rana faces maximum penalties of up to $3600 per contravention and Abdul Wahid and Sons Pty Ltd faces penalties of up to $18,000 per contravention. For the pay slips matter, maximum penalties of up to $5400 per contravention for Mr Rana and $27,000 per contravention for the company apply.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on February 7, 2018.

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