Melbourne boss tries to avoid conviction after slapping topless upside-down apprentice

A Melbourne boss is trying to avoid conviction after an employee complained he was physically assaulted at a Christmas party in 2020.Steven Yousif, 29, allegedly hit Ilyas Elkharraz repeatedly across his bare chest as he hung upside down from a crane.

At the time he was working for Yousif's company, Melbourne Glass Solutions, as an apprentice carpenter.

Elkharraz said he felt anxious, stressed, depressed and suicidal as a result of what happened.

 He added that Yousif had also abused and threatened him between April 2019 and May 2021.A second apprentice came forward, claiming Yousif threatened to fire him, and stopped him attending TAFE (Technical and Further Education) classes in 2019.

On Monday, Yousif pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain for his employees a working environment that was safe and without risk to health at the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

His lawyer Joseph D'Abaco argued his client was young and inexperienced, and "pushed himself and others hard", but now realised his mistake, 7News reported.

"He now realises his conduct was wrong and has no place in the modern workplace," D'Abaco told Magistrate Andrew Sim.

D'Abaco said that Yousif's felt embarrassed and had apologised to both men for his actions.

D'Abaco said a conviction would unfairly harm Yousif's second business, Jaden Commercial Windows.

He argued that if convicted, Jaden Windows would miss business tenders and his employees would be unfairly affected.

However, prosecutor Tristan Joseph said a conviction was appropriate and Sim agreed, saying Yousif would have to declare his offending on tender applications, whether convicted or not.

Yousif will be sentenced next month.

The maximum sentence for this offense is AU$80,595.

Melbourne Glass Solutions is no longer in operation..