Miles Heffernan was just 15-years-old when he took on his first wage theft case, and won… and it was all over a pair of pants! Years later, Miles is a professional worker advocate.
Like many young people, Miles’ first job was a burger flipper at his local McDonald’s. He earned an impressive wage of $4.25 an hour.
All staff had to wear the official uniform, including a pair of pants complete with those famous ‘golden arches’ embossed right at the top of the backside.
But when management decided to dock his pay $150 to pay for the pants, Miles was incredulous.
Not only was this illegal, but it was also a huge hit to his salary.
Boss tells young Miles Heffernan to ‘suck it up’.
When he complained to the boss, that gentleman told him to ‘suck it up’.
Never one to back down from a fight, Miles went straight to the top. He wrote to Premier Wayne Goss – who passed the complaint onto the state Industrial Inspectorate. The inspectorate immediately ordered McDonald’s to rectify the situation within 24 hours.
The following day, Miles received a cheque for $150 from the store’s owner.
That simple fight over a work uniform sparked a passion for justice in that 15-year-old, that would see him go on to build his own industrial relations firm, offering help to other workers who face injustices in the workplace.
Industrial Relations Claims is now the largest non-union worker advocacy organisation in Queensland, offering assistance to workers who have experienced unfair dismissal, discrimination, sexual harassment, and wage theft.
“It makes me angry when I see a worker being treated unfairly, particularly when they are vulnerable and don’t have the knowledge or skills or power to stand up and fight their employer,” Miles said.
“That’s where we can step in and advocate on their behalf and hopefully make things right,”
If you are having a workplace issue, please call IR Claims on 1300 853 837.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.