A petrol company operating three service stations in the Riverina will face court for allegedly underpaying staff tens of thousands of dollars.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has accused Westside Petroleum Retail of underpaying 22 employees at 12 regional stations a total of $62,393.
The Westside Petroleum-operated stations in the Riverina are Docker Street, Wagga; Bourke Street, Tolland; and Hoskins Street, Temora.
During the audit period between July 2015 and May 2016, each of the 12 sites were company-operated and the ombudsman has made no allegations against any franchisee-run stations.
It is alleged the company paid the employees a net rate of about $18 per hour.
Under the Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award, adult workers are entitled to gross hourly rates of $25.05 on weekdays, $32.56 on weekends and public holidays and an additional $14.21 for overtime hours.
Four of the affected employees were only 19 years old, two were visa holders and one on a 489 regional-sponsored visa.
Facing the Federal Circuit Court is the petroleum company and three of its management staff.
If found guilty and convicted of the breaches, the company faces penalties of up to $54,000 per contravention and each of the three management staff face penalties of up to $10,800 per contravention.
The other nine stations that allegedly underpaid staff are located at Adaminaby, Finley, Gurley, Lismore, Somerton, Blayney, Glen Innes, Peak Hill and Cooma.
Westside Petroleum and its legal representative have been contacted for comment.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said inspectors audited the company after employees asked for help.
"The Fair Work Ombudsman has no tolerance for the underpayment of any workers," Ms Parker said.
"It is unlawful for employers to pay their employees low, flat rates that undercut minimum award wage rates."
Prior to Wagga's Westside Petroleum-branded station opening in August 2018, the site was a Shell-branded station.
It re-opened after 10 months of renovations.
The matter is listed for a directions hearing in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on April 12 this year.
The Fair Work Ombudsman says all employees have been back-paid in full.
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