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UnderpaymentsOctober 19, 2015
A vulnerable asylum seeker was found by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) to have been paid as little as $3.49 an hour by his employer. The FWO is now commencing legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against Mhoney Pty Ltd and its director Abdulrahman Taleb for the gross exploitation of the employee.
Mhoney Pty Ltd formerly operated a fruit and vegetable outlet at Sunshine Fruit Market in Melbourne’s western suburbs and paid the Afghani man nothing at all for a number of weeks. The employee initially came to Australia as an asylum seeker and spent some time in detention before being granted Australian residency in late 2010.
Natalie James from the FWO said that the employee who spoke very little English, was allegedly paid cash in hand of as little as $3.49 an hour. The employee was in fact entitled to a little over $17.00 an hour for normal working hours, up to $35.00 on weekends and up to $43.00 on public holidays.
In total, the exploited employee was underpaid a total of more than $25,000 over a period of 5 months before he contacted the FWO for help through an interpreter.
The FWO has been forced to commence legal action after Mhoney Pty Ltd failed to rectify the alleged underpayments or provide the FWO with employment records.
Mhoney Pty Ltd faces maximum penalties of up to $33,000 and Abdulrahman Taleb faces up to $6,600 for each breach of contravention.
If you are an employer and unsure if you are currently meeting your employment obligations under the Fair Work Act, or if you would like to review the correct Modern Award or wage rates for your business, contact Employsure on 1300 651 415. Employsure can advise on all matters of Modern Award and minimum wage to put your mind at ease.
Sourced via Fair Work Ombudsman website