A MEDIA firm covering regional Queensland has allegedly underpaid 23 young journalists more than 300,000 in less than 18 months is facing legal action from the national watchdog.
Touchpoint Media runs the "Our Town plus more" websites which cover the Whitsundays, Maranoa, Redland and rural areas of Charters Towers, Charleville, Goondiwindi and Longreach.
Touchpoint hired journalists who were in their early 20s and fresh from university, then allegedly underpaid them to the tune of $305,780 between January 2015 and June 2016.
Four of these journalists are owed more than $30,000 each by Touchpoint, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman's allegations.
It found one journalist is now allegedly owed $48,217.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the journalists allegedly underpaid by Touchpoint were "committed to working hard to build careers".
The Ombudsman also accuses Touchpoint of giving false records to inspectors that suggested it was paying its workers much more.
If the accusations are proven, Touchpoint could be forced to pay up to $54,000 per breach.
Company director Laurence Bernard Ward, also targeted by the Ombudsman, would face a maximum penalty of $10,800 per breach.
The Ombudsman is pushing to have both the company and Mr Ward jointly liable for back-paying workers.
The case is due to face Federal Circuit Court in March next year.