Flight Centre staff give evidence in underpayment case
Travel giant Flight Centre has been accused of underpaying workers, not allowing adequate breaks and forcing them to attend motivational 'buzz nights' to discuss sales.
The Federal Circuit Court on Monday heard the Brisbane-based company allegedly breached provisions of the Fair Work Act by not paying required loadings on overtime and annual leave of up to 200 percent of the base rate.
The case is being prosecuted by the Together Union on behalf of five former Flight Centre workers.
Former Gold Coast-based sales agent Troy Dorosz said "no one left" work before 5.30pm even though most of the company's outlets closed for the day at that time.
Mr Dorosz said he had to stay back as late as 7pm to complete back office tasks including overseas phone calls to travel wholesalers and to issue tickets.
"If I was to leave work I ran the risk of my client losing the last seat or ticket prices going up," Mr Dorosz said.
"A lot of things are required in the travel industry because you are dealing with people's dreams. You have to hit targets or else you don't have a job."
Mr Dorosz said he also felt obliged to attend after hours events called 'buzz nights' where sales targets were discussed.
Grace Barrett, who worked at Flight Centre's Townsville store between 2012 and 2014, said she had to "fight not to attend" the buzz nights so she could care for her young children.
"On these nights they would go through the sales of each branch and the goals for the month," Ms Barrett said.
Lawyers for Flight Centre told the court that staff worked overtime of their own volition under a pay structure that meant they earned commission on sales.
The company denied workers were underpaid and not paid required loadings.
The lawyers said the buzz nights were social occasions where food and drink was provided free to staff and awards given to employees. On occasions activities such as murder mystery events were held.
The case continues.
Originally published as Flight Centre staff give evidence in underpayment case