Boss who slapped strung-up apprentice fined $60,000

A Melbourne boss who slapped an apprentice while the young man was strung upside down from a crane at a work Christmas party has been fined $60,000.

Steven Yousif, 29, last month admitted to failing to maintain a safe working environment after he was captured on camera hitting Ilyas Elkharraz's bare chest at the December 2020 event.

The video was later shared on social media.

Yousif, the sole director of Melbourne Glass Solutions, also verbally abused and threatened Mr Elkharraz between 2019 and 2021, leading the carpentry apprentice to become anxious, depressed, stressed and suicidal, the Melbourne Magistrates Court was told. 

A second apprentice carpenter complained Yousif insulted him, threatened to terminate his employment and stopped him from attending TAFE classes in 2019.

WorkSafe investigators first attended the Tullamarine work site in April last year.

Executive health and safety director Narelle Beer on Tuesday said "disgusting behaviour" such as Yousif's would not be tolerated.

Yousif was convicted and fined $60,000 on Monday and ordered to pay more than $6000 in court costs.

"This case is deeply disturbing, not only because of the horrific bullying and violence these apprentices were subjected to, but that it was perpetrated by the one person who should have always had their backs - their boss," Dr Beer said in a statement.

Yousif's lawyer previously said his client was a young and inexperienced boss at the time of the offending, and had since realised his conduct was wrong.

Melbourne Glass Solutions is no longer operating as a company.

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