The husband and wife team behind a cleaning business have been hit with a record $510,840 penalty for underpaying three Taiwanese working holiday visa holders $11,500, a Federal Circuit Court judge dismissing concerns about their ability to pay despite an outstanding bill of $343,000 from a previous prosecution for identical contraventions.
In a ruling that underlines the Fair Work Ombudsman's pursuit of accessorial liability against advisors, a court has for the first time imposed a fine on an accountancy firm involved in an employer's underpayments.
In the FWO's first underpayment prosecution relying on race discrimination prohibitions in the Fair Work Act, a court has found a Tasmanian hotel and its manager deliberately short-changed a head chef and kitchen hand and expected them to work long hours, six days a week because of their Malaysian nationality and Chinese race.
A court has found a husband and wife who performed largely home-based clerical work exclusively for one business before their services were further outsourced were employees rather than contractors because the company had an "undoubted authority to control" the relationship.
As a court fines a regional café more than $500,000 for exploiting overseas workers and the FWO pursues two other cafes for unlawful "cash-back" schemes, Ombudsman Natalie James has welcomed the Federal Government's commitment to introducing laws to prohibit such arrangements.
Fast food giant Pizza Hut has underpaid some of its delivery drivers, offering as little as $5.70 per delivery, with 92% of franchisees audited by the FWO failing to meet their legal obligations to employees, a report by the regulator has found.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has warned accessorial liability for workplace breaches is now being extended beyond employers and company directors to those working in human resources, management and recruitment.