Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

Award beats inferior oral contract of employment

The Industrial Magistrate found that a panel beater with an oral contract of employment was owed over $20,000 in unpaid wages. 

The oral contract was that the employer would pay the employee 10% of the sale value for each vehicle he repaired, when the vehicle was sold by the employer.  His Honour found that the agreement about remuneration was void because it sought to oust the Award.  Therefore, the higher Award rate of pay applied.  

The employer also argued that the claimant was not an employee.  His Honour found against the employer because it provided the claimant with uniforms, tools, equipment and workplace; the employee was under the employer’s control and ‘provided nothing more than his labour’. 

The employer was ordered to pay $20,000 (the maximum amount an Industrial Magistrate in small claims proceedings can award) for over 1,000 hours’ work. 

The decision can be read here.

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