With shifts in business activity, or the type of work a business is completing the requirement for staffing also changes. In some cases,...
UnderpaymentsFebruary 2, 2015
A bizarre story is circulating in Victoria this week after a 23-year-old girl was forced by her employer to tell the Fair Work Ombudsman that she had been kidnapped. Employment relations has once again proven that there is always a story to be told amid the employee and employer relationship.
In this case the employer had suggested the kidnapping to avoid paying back-payments of $5,000 to the underpaid staff member.
It was found that the employer had been paying their employee below the minimum wage set out in the Restaurant Industry Award. The restaurant owner received a Contravention Letter from the FWO detailing the back-payments and fines associated with not following the correct workplace legislation. This is when the unusual request to the employee was construed.
It seems the employer was more fearful of their unlawful employment operations than they were of being accused of kidnapping…
In the Federal Circuit Court, it was found that the employer only offered the girl her owed remuneration once legal action had been taken out against him. Judge Riethmuller said that the employer had shown no remorse for the “deliberate” breach of workplace laws, and his decision to ignore the Compliance Notice was “extraordinary”. They also informed the employer that “such bizarre conditions would not be met”.
The employer of the restaurant has been personally fined $3,000 and the restaurant trading under Sona Peaks Pty Ltd has also been fined a further $12,000. The back-payments to the employee totalled $5,000. These fines are a reminder to other business owners that compliance with the Fair Work Act is compulsory. As a result of under-payments, the FWO will conduct investigations and employers will be fined.
If you would like to review your current wage rates or check that you are fully abiding by the Fair Work Act, call Employsure today on 1300 651 415 or fill in the form below. Employsure looks out for the welfare of employers and ensures that all aspects of the Fair Work Act are followed to protect small businesses from investigations and fines.
*Information sourced via The Age newspaper.