Ethical beauty brand Lush undercuts Australian workers by $4.4 million over eight years

Ethical beauty brand Lush undercuts Australian workers by $4.4 million over eight years

THE WHAT? Ethical beauty brand Lush Australia has been found to have underpaid Australian workers by $4.4 million between 2010 and 2018, according to a report by the Guardian. 

THE DETAILS The company, which prides itself on a sustainable supply chain, ethical working conditions for staff, and natural products, was the subject of an internal investigation that found it to have breached three awards due to ‘inadequate’ workplace processes.

Lush Australia underpaid 3,130 workers from, retail staff to manufacturing employees, over the eight-year period, with the fair work ombudsman stating that the company ‘failed to provide its employees with a range of entitlements they were owed.”

THE WHY? Discussing how the ethical company failed to adequately compensate staff over such a lengthy period, the ombudsman continued, “The contraventions were caused by Lush’s inadequate workplace relations systems and processes, including a lack of training for staff and managers, a manual payroll system, and the absence of a HR department in a rapidly growing business.”

Lush Australia has since agreed to pay back the amount in full, with a $60,000 contrition payment. 

A Lush Australia spokesperson said it had ensured the same mistake wouldn’t happen again by investing “significantly in new payroll systems.”

“We hold our values dear and would never knowingly underpay, cheat or avoid our responsibilities and we regret that these mistakes and oversights happened. We know this has been a difficult experience for all those concerned and we would therefore like to take this opportunity to publicly thank our staff for their patience and understanding whilst the long process of wage recalculation took place.”

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