Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

BP franchisee owes $250,000 for breaching employment law

11 April 2018

BP franchisee owes $250,000 for breaching employment law

Pegasus Energy Limited, which operated as a BP station in Hastings has been ordered to pay upwards of $132,000 in arrears to two ex-staff and $120,000 in penalties following a Labour Inspectorate investigation.

Labour Inspectorate regional manager Loua Ward says, “It’s alarming to see a franchisee operating under such a well-established brand mistreat and underpay their staff. Whether a company is a small business or a larger one such as this, the Labour Inspectorate will hold employers to account.”

“These employees were not paid the minimum wage, or holiday pay by sole director Jag Rawat. They were subjected to unlawful premiums being deducted from their pay and were at times working up to 16 hour shifts, with lesser hours falsely recorded in the business’s records.”

The seriousness of the breaches resulted in Mr Rawat being personally liable for a further $24,000 in penalties.

“The pair was made to live in accommodation provided by the employer and pay excessive amounts in rent, despite poor living conditions where they were required to sleep on the floor.

“The employees continuously received threats from Mr Rawat saying that he would cancel their visas and they’d be forced to leave New Zealand if they spoke up about the mistreatment. Mr Rawat also threatened trouble in the employees’ home countries on return,” says Ms Ward.

In evidence given to the Labour Inspector, the employees said they were subjected to working conditions that verged on slavery.

“We are always disappointed to find such blatant abuses of employment and immigration law in franchises such as this, and surprised these businesses aren’t doing more to protect their brands.”

“Underpaying and mistreating staff can reflect poorly on a business’s brand for years to come. Franchisors must take a stronger approach in ensuring those who they lend their company name to are paying their staff behind the counter what they are entitled to under New Zealand employment law.

“Migrant workers are vulnerable in New Zealand and may not always be aware of their rights, or may be taken advantage of, which we’ve seen in this case. Mr Rawat saw himself in a position of power, and used this to his employees’ detriment,” says Ms Ward.

Mr Rawat previously pleaded guilty to eight charges in the Napier District Court relating to falsifying immigration documents and misleading Immigration New Zealand.

MBIE encourages anyone concerned about their employment situation, or the situation of someone they know, to call 0800 20 90 20 where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.

[ends]


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Land Report: Issues With Soil Degradation

An environmental report released today has found we are damaging and losing our soils and our native plants and animals. More>>

ALSO:

Water Quality Report: Cause For Optimism

National River Water Quality Trends released by Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) this week, reveal that for all river water quality parameters monitored over a 10 year period, more sites were improving than deteriorating. More>>

ALSO:

IMF Report On NZ: Positive Economic Outlook

Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has welcomed the IMF’s Concluding Statement, released following its annual visit, which provides an independent assessment of the strength of the New Zealand economy. More>>

ALSO:

Retail Power Price: Review Panel Named

The Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has released the details of who will sit on an expert advisory panel which is tasked with leading a review into the price of electricity in New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:


Increasingly Disruptive Threats: Govt Cyber Security Refresh

Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Clare Curran today announced a comprehensive refresh of New Zealand’s approach to cyber security. More>>

ALSO:


Regional Growth: Action Plan To Modernise Taranaki’s Economy

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest up to $20 million to help future-proof the Taranaki region by diversifying its economy, creating additional jobs and leveraging off the strong base the region has established through its oil, gas and agricultural ... More>>

ALSO:

Winding Down Irrigation: Funding Ends For Crown Irrigation Investment

The Government has begun winding down public funding for large-scale irrigation through Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL), in line with the Coalition Agreement and the Confidence & Supply Agreement. More>>

ALSO: