Domino’s is in court facing an underpayment class action. The action alleges Domino’s delivery drivers and store workers were left shortchanged between June 2013 and January 2018 after the franchisor told Australian franchisees to pay staff under the wrong employment agreements.
The class action claims under the correct award is the Fast Food Industry Award. This award entitles staff to 25 per cent casual loading, weekend and public holiday penalty rates.
However Domino’s said it had formed a ‘reasonable opinion’ it had complied with the relevant laws. It said it had it received advice from the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association.
Underpayments class action sees Domino’s slammed for its initial submission
According to Lawyerly, class action barrister, Rachel Doyle SC, is contesting Domino’s claim it’s representations were opinion, not fact. The pizza chain’s centralised payroll, book-keeping and rostering services were pre-set with pay rates which stood counter to its argument, she said.
Doyle also refuted Domino’s claim the agreement was not relevant network-wide, only to named franchisees.
Lawyerly reported that on the first day of the month-long trial the judge delivered harsh words to Domino’s defence team. Federal Court Justice Bernard Murphy criticised the pizza business for the lack of detail in its opening submissions.
The judge said “I will not allow surprises, this is not a game of ‘gotcha’. This is a modern trial where there is no ambush.”
Justice Murphy instructed Domino’s to amend its submission to “tell the court and the opposing party what positive case you are advancing”.