5 February 2019

A Sydney pub chain has been forced to pay $100,000 in backpay, after staff formed an informal union to demand wages they were owed after being systematically misclassified as lower-level employees. The company initially denied any wrongdoing, sacked the staff member who initially complained, offered half of what was owed with a non-disclosure clause, before finally capitulating and admitting the full extent of its wage rip-off. The company admits that “Management did advise one specific employee that it was inappropriate for her to be asking individual employees about their pay rates (as this was the private information of each employee)” — this was the employee who identified the problem, and who was trying to ensure her colleagues. The Greens and Labor have committed to outlawing pay secrecy clauses, in an effort to reduce the gender pay gap. If a boss ever asks workers not to discuss their pay with colleagues, it’s a warning sign that one way or another, they may be up to no good.