Merivale denies all class action claims

11 March, 2020 by Andy Young

Merivale is facing a class action over claims that it has underpaid staff, but the company has categorically denied making employees work unreasonable additional hours.

The claim, which is being brought by employment law firm Adero, centres around allegations that salaried staff were expected to work 50 to 55 hours a week, while only being paid for 38 hours a week.

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So far 235 former employees have signed up to the case, but Merivale has denied all the claims.

A spokesperson for Merivale, told TheShout: “Merivale categorically denies that any of its employees have been required to work unreasonable additional hours against their will.

“Full time Merivale employees have been paid annualised salaries with hours averaged over 52 weeks as permitted under the enterprise agreement that applied to Merivale employees from 2007 until 2019 and in accordance with the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 since the agreement was terminated by consent.

“Merivale has always had regard to its employees’ health and safety and their personal circumstances, including any family responsibilities when determining reasonable hours and employees have always been permitted to refuse additional hours where such hours would be unreasonable.

“Merivale is not aware of any of its employees having suffered physical or mental injury as a result of working excessive hours. Merivale takes the welfare of its employees seriously and takes steps to ensure that as far as reasonably practicable workers are not exposed to health and safety risks.”

According to news.com.au Merivale’s time and attendance system, Kronos, records all hours worked by staff and News says there is one classification in the system for “hours not paid”.

The case hits the Federal Court this week and if found guilty Merivale could face repayments of up to $126million.