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Businessman dealt $24,000 fine for underpaying staff
02/08/2012 - A small businessman has been slapped with a hefty fine for underpaying staff $70,000 at his "chaotic" Adelaide smallgoods firm.
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Federal Magistrate Stuart Lindsay imposed the $24,280 penalty on Tuesday, saying it was important to deter Andrew Sitarenos in case he is tempted to fall into "bad management practices" again.
The Fair Work Ombudsman Magistrate said in a statement that Magistrate Lindsay had fined Sitarenos for underpaying staff at his poultry processing and retail business, Uncle Tom's Quality Smallgoods.
Sitarenos had admitted his former company, now in liquidation, underpaid seven staff more than $45,000 and owed four staff more than $26,000 in superannuation.
Magistrate Lindsay said the business was "clearly chaotic" and Sitarenos "singularly unsuccessful" as a small businessman.
"Wages were rarely paid on time or in full, record-keeping was haphazard, creditors, including WorkCover, were regularly unpaid and there was difficulty in meeting orders on behalf of clients", the magistrate said.
He found Sitarenos had knowingly mismanaged his business and failed to observe his workplace obligations.
"Sitarenos wanted me to accept that he had little or no money in the bank, but I assume he must have some capital (or access to it) because he has started up another business at Klemzig packing tea under the aegis of his new company," the magistrate said.
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