Caltex franchisee accused of falsifying wage records

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The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has begun legal action against a Caltex franchisee in Sydney for allegedly falsifying records of the wage rates it paid to overseas workers.

Facing the Federal Circuit Court is Peter Dagher and his company, Aulion Pty Ltd, which operates the Caltex Five Dock service station in inner-western Sydney.

The FWO investigated the Five Dock outlet last year as part of compliance activity involving audits of 15 Caltex service stations nationally.

The FWO issued Aulion Pty Ltd with Notices to Produce and Mr Dagher and the company provided a range of documents, including contracts of employment, time-and-wages records, pay slips and earnings summaries for six employees. All six of the employees were overseas workers and all but one were international students.

Concerned that the documents provided did not accurately reflect the wage rates the company had paid to employees, earlier this year the FWO issued further Notices to Produce to a bank, a superannuation fund and Aulion’s accountant.

The information in the documents obtained through the further Notices to Produce was inconsistent with the information provided by Mr Dagher and his company.

The FWO alleges the inconsistency is the result of Mr Dagher and his company falsifying documents and records and unlawfully making use of them by providing them to the FWO. It is alleged that Mr Dagher and his 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 FWO from completing a full audit to determine whether employees at Caltex Five Dock had been paid their full, lawful entitlements.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on December 21. Mr Dagher faces maximum penalties of up to $3,600 per contravention and Aulion Pty Ltd faces penalties of up to $18,000 per contravention.