by Widget  02/06/2018  1 Comments  138 Page Views
Employment law, compensation law
Hey guys, terribly sorry for the long post, but wanted to give as much info as possible.

I'm having a bit of an issue at work regarding money that I feel I should be reimbursed for, and was hoping to get some feedback from others.

Here's the story, I'll try to be brief, but will leave out the business name for now.

I work at X supermarket as a casual, started there just under a year ago. A couple of months later, I was approached by the Grocery Manager and told that X supermarket introduced Free safety work shoes (just the 1st pair, future pairs would be upto employee to purchase) that were to be compulsory and worn when working. She then took my measurements & my chosen style, then left.

A souple of weeks later, shoes arrived, picked them up, tried them on, didn't fit properly (sizing issue). As it turns out, probably 75% or more of the Employees had the same issue, and we returned them to the Grocery Manager/Store manager so they can send them back. until then, I went back to wearing my normal black dress/work shoes.

6months later (I know, long time), my normal work shoes started wearing out (holes etc..), and I pointed them out to Duty manager, who said I should get new 'safety shoes' as, if the Store Manager sees, I might get in trouble. I decided to try again with the Free Safety Shoes that were being offered.
I took my measurements myself, logged into the X Supermarket Employee Login (where we can see rosters, payslips, etc..), went to the section for ordering work-clothes (it redirects you to Bizwear), ordered the shoes, and received them in about a week.

Note: With the ordering of work clothes, when I first started, I was told we get 2x Free work shirts, and to get these, we login to the Employee Login > Work clothes section (redirects you to Bizwear), then select the shirts and go through checkout, which you then won't we charged (because they're free). This is why I did it this way with the shoes rather than going through the Manager again.

Few days after shoes arrived, I was checking my finances, and noticed I had actually been charged for the shoes. Spoke to Grocery Manager, who agreed they should have been free (they're my one and only pair). She called Bizwear and was told I was charged because they didn't receive the return from the 1st pair, which is why their system detected them being a 2nd pair, and therefor was charged.

As it turns out, they didn't actually didn't send back any of the shoes. Apparently the New store manager said 'free for all' and all the employees grabbed whatever fit (I wasn't aware of this at all, otherwise I would have just grabbed a pair that fit)

Now, here's where my main issue starts. After the Grocery Manager got off the phone to Bizwear, she grabbed a random pair of shoes from the office, told me to send these back to Bizwear (at my cost), bring back the receipt from AusPost, & she'll get Accounting to reimburse me, and she'll chase up the reimbursement for the shoes too. So I did.

After sending them off (with tracking), I waited till they arrived, then contacted Bizwear myself, who informed me that I would not be getting the refund for the shoes, as IIRC, the shoes had been purchased by X Supermarket, and therefor they would be getting the refund. If I send back the shoes I got charged for, they can refund (but I had already been wearing them for some time by then, so no returns accepted).
I'm guessing the Grocery Manager assumed I would get the refund.

I took the AusPost receipt back to her, told her they said no, and she said she'd look into it, and organise the reimbursement for the receipt.

Almost 2months later, and back & forward, with her saying she's still looking into it, I still have no refund for the shoes, or the receipt, I get annoyed, ask her if she had an update (via sms), she tells me it was at the Team members expense to send them back, and that I should talk to the boss. *facepalm*, so it looks like she/management's not interested in reimbursing for the AusPost...

(I know, I should have gone to Management higher up, but didn't think I needed to as the Grocery manager who organised the shoes to begin with said she'd look into it)

So so sorry, this was not a brief post at all... I wanted to include as much info as I can, but really hope someone can offer some feedback on the situation.

Regarding the 1st shoes. I honestly don't believe it should have been team members responsibility, as management made the order, so shouldn't it be up to the purchaser to make the return, especially since they're the one getting the refund anyways ?

I'm at a loss, never been in this situation before. i know they're just shoes, which cost around $60 + the AusPost costs.. but it's the principle of the thing.

I'm online now looking at info for,

NSW Department of Fair Trading to see who's responsible for returning the first pair. I know if I purchase from Bizwear directly (which I have), then it's upto me to return if there's an issue... but in this case, I was not the purchaser.

Fair Work Ombudsman. Under the awards for retail (somewhere there) I read the Employer must reimburse the cost of special workwear that the Employee must wear. not sure about other entitlements.

SDA – Under the EBA, they also say the Employer must reimburse. Not sure about other entitlements.
6.2 Special Clothing Where 'supermarket' requires a team member to wear any protective or special clothing such as a uniform, dress or other clothing then 'supermarket' will reimburse the team member for any cost of purchasing such clothing and the cost of replacement items, when replacement is due to normal wear and tear. This provision will not apply where the special clothing is supplied and/or paid for by 'supermarket

Bizwear – Who really is responsible for the return of an item.

Sorry again for the long post. If it's too long, let me know, I'll trim down what I can.

I'll be going in to speak with the store manager next week, just want to get as much info as possible.

I changed the Employer business name to 'X Supermarket', wasn't sure if I should put the real name down.

Just a note too, I've asking the other Employees if they had to pay for their shoes, or pay to have their original pair that didn't fit correctly, returned. So far, no one has had to pay anything, just me.

Thanks in advance :).Widget2018-06-02 00:11:14