Significant work health and safety issues within 7-Eleven stores have been exposed by an independent Fairness Panel which was established by Allan Fels, the former chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. One former 7-Eleven worker, Mr Sam Pendem, has made an appeal to the panel alleging a breach of his workplace rights.
The work health and safety issues associated with Mr Pendem’s work at 7-Eleven include:
- Working shifts of up to 16 hours without proper breaks;
- During an armed robbery, the franchisee instructed Mr Pendem that he “should fight” rather than “hand over the money”, ostensibly prioritising money over the safety of his employee; and
- Mr Pendem was overworked, effectively doing the job of two people at the store.
7-Eleven’s failure to satisfy its work health and safety obligations remained unchallenged for years as the long hours which breached Mr Pendem’s visa conditions gave the franchisee leverage, because the franchisee could threaten to cancel his visa if he ever complained about his salary or working conditions.
However, since the establishment of the Fairness Panel hundreds of claims have been processed and more than $12 million in fines have been ordered against the 7-Eleven to compensate the workers for exploitation.
Stevens and Associates Lawyers would be delighted to assist you to ensure your business is able to satisfy its work health and safety obligation. If you have any queries please contact Nick Stevens, Megan Cant or Jane Murray.
Published July 2016