Record penalty against 7-Eleven operator

A record penalty of more than $400,000 has been imposed against the operators of a 7-Eleven store which systematically exploited its workers.

It is the largest-ever Court-imposed penalty achieved by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The penalty follows an investigation and litigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman which found 12 7-Eleven employees in Brisbane had been short-changed over $82,000.

While some of the money was paid-back, the store owner requested his staff to secretly pay back thousands of dollars to him and his wife.

Federal Circuit Court judge Michael Jarrett found the 7-Eleven franchisee had shown “contemptuous disregard” for Australian workplace laws and had sought to deceive the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Handing down his decision yesterday, Judge Jarrett imposed record penalties totalling $408,348 – eclipsing by $65,000 the Fair Work Ombudsman’s previous highest penalties of $343,860 in Perth in 2013.

Brisbane businessman Sheng-Chieh Lo was personnally penalised $68,058 and his company, Mai Pty Ltd, penalised a further $340,290.

Lo owns and operates the 7-Eleven outlet on Boundary Road, West End.

Since July, 2009, the Fair Work Ombudsman has placed eight matters involving 7-Eleven franchisees before the courts – four of them still to be finalised.

Source: Fair Work Ombudsman Media Release 21 June 2016

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