Chemist Warehouse is facing a $10 million lawsuit alleging underpayment of pharmacy workers
- Four SA Chemist Warehouses are said to have underpaid staff
- SDA has taken legal action
Chemist Warehouse could be forced to pay back up to $10 million after allegedly underpaid staff.
The South Australian branch of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) has taken legal action against the owners of four South Australian franchises of the chemist giant in the SA Employment Tribunal.
Affected stores are located in Colonnades, Elizabeth City Centre, Modbury and Clovelly Park.
Owners of four Chemist Warehouse franchises in South Australia are said to have underpaid staff
Nine employees at the stores claimed they were paid to complete a Certificate III in Public Pharmacy, but were underpaid once they moved into higher-level duties.
The SDA has claimed the lawsuit could affect 1,000 workers in 350 Chemist Warehouse stores across the country.
The nine workers have each demanded $5,000 in underpayment, but the SDA claims it could rise to $600,000 within SA and $10 million nationwide if proven.
The retailer had paid staff to complete the certificate, but would not pay them accordingly when they began more senior duties such as dispensing drugs.
“We allege that Chemist Warehouse knowingly ripped thousands out of the pockets of its employees by directing them to work above their classification level,” said SDA SA Secretary Josh Peak.
“This is not a mistake or mistake, it is another shocking example of wage exploitation by a national brand.”
The franchisees have denied the allegations, saying the employees were promoted to level two, not level three.
A spokesperson for the company says that Chemist Warehouse itself is not a party to the proceedings with the SDA.
After speaking to the franchisees, they said they “deny the allegation of underpayment and will vigorously defend their position.”
“In addition, as the matter is in court, neither the franchisees nor Chemist Warehouse will be commenting further – as is customary.”
The case will go to trial in August this year.