A popular Australian jeweller is facing a potential class action with a specialist law firm looking into allegations of underpayments.
National law firm Adero, which specialises in employment law class actions, is looking into the jewellery chain Lovisa over a potential breach of its enterprise agreement.
“Adero Law has become aware of a pattern of potential underpayments occurring at Lovisa Pty Ltd (Lovisa), that involves a failure to pay minimum rates of pay arising under the Lovisa Enterprise Agreement 2014,” the firm stated.
Adero’s website says it is aware of claims that staff had been directed to skip meal and toilet breaks, undertake unpaid overtime and work additional hours during Christmas sales periods without appropriate overtime rates.
“If these practices have occurred across Lovisa stores, Adero may pursue a class action against Lovisa and seek that compensation be paid to any employee whose entitlements were not paid in full,” the firm said.
“We are investigating the underpayments on behalf of casual, part-time and full-time employees of Lovisa.
“This includes team members, senior stylists, assistant store managers, store managers, inventory managers and any other in-store employees.”
Adero said it would look to recover any potential underpayments due to breaches of the enterprise agreement, which may be owed to current and former employees from 2016 onward.
Lovisa is a large jewellery chain that markets affordable accessories and is popular among young Australians.
Founded in Australia in 2010, the chain has boomed to over 400 stores worldwide, including Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, France and the US.
One such worker who has already gone public on social media was Sydney woman Marissa Tukuafu.
Her anecdotes of what she and her workmates experienced matched Adero’s intel.
In a series of videos posted to TikTok, Ms Tukuafu alleged there was a “traumatic” work culture at the outlet.
The former store manager’s videos, which have amassed over two million views, claiming she and her colleagues were often ordered to work overtime and on days off – eventually impacting their health and wellbeing.
“It was toxic, as a whole, it was just not great … it was awful,” Ms Tukuafu told The Daily Telegraph.
“I knew it was at the point where I had to leave when I had to get an ECG put on due to constant heart palpitations, and while I was getting the monitor on I was called to come in.
“I had to go to therapy.”
She said out-of-shift extra work had become “kind of the norm”.
“I was easily coming into work one hour early every morning and staying two hours after, working through lunch, we didn’t have enough staff, and the workload was quite intense,” she said. “I stopped going away on my days off because I knew I would be called.
“I passed out one day at the train station from exhaustion during the Christmas period when I was rushing to the store.
“On Christmas Eve, I was there until 2am.”
Ms Tukuafu said the work conditions pushed herself and her colleagues to their physical limits, recounting “throwing up” and urinating behind the counter due to a lack of breaks.
“We bond over our trauma,” she said of former colleagues.
One of her TikTok posts about her experience at Lovisa sparked a flurry of former employees coming forward similar claims of traumatic experiences of their own.
“I have nightmares about working there. Can we all join together and do a class action against Lovisa to pay for therapy,” one said.
“Two-hundred per cent the worst company I have ever worked for. Don’t get me started on the unrealistic targets that had to be met,” another added.
“I only worked there for one month and lost 5kg from the stress,” said another.
News.com.au contacted Lovisa via phone and were told to email the customer support address.
“We have received your inquiry and will endeavour to reply to you within 24-48 hours,” we were then told.