Sunglass Hut underpaid 620 staff

Sunglass Hut underpaid 620 staff

The retailer behind one of Australia's best-known sunglasses brands is back-paying $2.3 million to employees around the country after entering court-enforceable undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).

Luxottica Retail Australia Pty Ltd, trading as Sunglass Hut, self-disclosed to the FWO that it underpaid 620 current and former employees between 2010 and 2016.

FWO reports the company failed to agree in writing with its part-time workers on a regular pattern of working hours and days, in breach of the General Retail Industry Award.

As a result, Sunglass Hut failed to pay overtime rates for work performed outside regular hours, with individual underpayments ranging from $4 to $42,912.

To date, Sunglass Hut has back-paid almost $1.5 million to 457 staff, and must back-pay the outstanding $815,391 in unpaid overtime wages.

The breaches occurred part-time retail staff who served customers in-store, and took place in every state and territory.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker says a court-enforceable undertaking is appropriate as the company has committed to overhauling workplace practices and rectifying all underpayments.

"Sunglass Hut breached workplace laws and their conduct falls short of lawful obligations to their employees, and community expectations," says Parker.

"This matter highlights that if employers incorrectly apply award conditions, it can have extensive and expensive consequences across the business for years to come.

"This outcome should also serve as a warning to all businesses that they need to actively check that they are paying their staff correctly."

Sunglass Hut must fund external auditors to check pay and conditions for workers every year until the enforceable undertaking (EU) expires in 2022.

Luxottica Retail Australia Pty Ltd must also issue a letter of apology to each of the affected workers.

The company has admitted that it breached workplace laws. In addition to back-paying staff, Sunglass Hut will make a gesture of contrition through a $50,000 payment to the National Association of Community Legal Centres.

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