Australian-first action taken against dodgy Gold Coast employer, Australian Shooting Academy

In the first action of its kind in Australia, a Gold Coast indoor shooting range has been fined $30,000 for trying to force workers to sign away their penalty rights for overtime, and work on weekends and public holidays.
The Australian Shooting Academy, at Centro Surfers Paradise shopping centre, has been fined $25,000 and company director and part owner Michael Joseph Murphy has been ordered to pay a further $5000.
The business was also ordered to pay compensation of more than $7000 to one worker.
The penalties, imposed in the Federal Court in Brisbane, are the result of a prosecution by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
They were imposed by Justice John Logan after Mr Murphy admitted he was involved in ASA breaching workplace laws in 2010 when six employees were asked to sign Individual Flexibility Arrangements which removed their entitlement to penalty rates for overtime, weekend and public holiday work.
Five of the six employees ultimately signed the IFA but the judge ruled the adverse action, coercion, undue pressure and duress provisions of workplace laws were breached when one of the employees signed only after he was threatened that there would be no work for him if he did not.
The sixth employee who refused to sign the IFA and was given no further work was awarded $7146 compensation.
The office of the Fair Work Ombudsman said it is the first time in Australia it had taken legal action over alleged contraventions relating to IFAs.
It is unlawful for employers to force employees to agree to an IFA and it is unlawful to make an IFA a condition of employment.
COMMENT: Employers like this should be banned from operating businesses for a fixed time,
just like company directors who are banned for dodgy practices.
Ignorance of the law is not
a valid legal excuse in Australia.  Michael Joseph Murphy should publicly apologise for his
actions.  The fair Work ombudsman should be congratulated for this legal action.