Summerland Security fined nearly $130,000 for underpaying

UNDERPAYING seven staff has cost Summerland Security and its owner Raymond Bryant almost $130,000.

The penalties were handed down in Sydney's Federal Circuit Court yesterday by Judge Kenneth Raphael after the Fair Work Ombudsman investigated allegations of staff being underpaid $62,616.

In his judgment, Judge Raphael found Alacorp P/L trading as Summerland Security and Raymond Bryant had been involved in a series of contraventions of the Workplace Relations Act and the Fair Work Act, between December 2006 and February 2011.

The breaches of the acts related to underpayment of wages and penalty rates for weekend work and public holidays, call back rates, overtime and a gun allowance to seven casual security guards employed by Alacorp.

Staff brought the breaches to the attention of the FWO in 2011.

In the judgment, Judge Raphael said it appeared the company relied on details of rates of pay from the Australian Security Industry Association.

"The court finds it difficult to accept that (Mr Bryant) would have been blind to the fact that employees in an industry working at night, at weekends and on public holidays would expect to be paid some penalties for working these unsocial hours," he said.

"The imposition of penalties for these contraventions should also encourage others to ensure that they are aware of their legal obligations under the relevant modern awards."

Judge Raphael ordered Alacorp to pay $108,240 and Mr Bryant $21,648 over the breaches.

Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James, said the Court's decision sent a clear message. Judge Raphael noted that between 2011 and July this year, Mr Bryant repaid the seven employees in full.