The federal government has taken aim at rampant wage theft by franchises like 7-Eleven, Caltex and Domino’s, by passing an amendment to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
This new provision increases penalties for those that break the rules and gives the Fair Work Ombudsman greater investigative powers.
The Fair Work Ombudsman successfully took action using these powers against the owners of a Tasmania hotel. In May 2018, these hotel owners were ordered in court to repay more than $28,000 to a Malaysian couple employed in the hotel kitchen. The hotel was also penalised for discriminating against the Malaysian 457 visa-holding employees and treating them less favourably than Australian staff. Judge Baker ruled that the pair “were taken advantage of, coming from Malaysia and being of Chinese descent”. The owner of the hotel was found to have “decided to recruit employees from Malaysia, in part because he knew a Malaysian would accept working six days a week and he knew that it was usual in Malaysia to work six or seven days”.
This was the first time that legal action has been taken against an employer for racially discriminating against employees in this way. The company was fined nearly $200,000 and the hotel owner received a personal fine of just over $35,000.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James, commented on the case saying:
“All workers in Australia are entitled to our minimum wages, irrespective of their background, language skills or visa status.”
We are recruiting for a dynamic person who enjoys working in a client facing role to assist people
experiencing disadvantage to navigate the legal assistance sector, and to train and mentor law
students in client intake. This is an identified role for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person