Another company guilty of wage theft has avoided court action, after the Fair Work Ombudsman agreed to enter into an Enforceable Undertaking instead.
The workplace watchdog has been criticised for its increasing use of Enforceable Undertakings (EU), as an alternative to taking dodgy bosses to court, where they face huge monetary penalties.
Sydney-based labour hire company, Cherries Farm Employment Agency Pty Ltd, and its director Ms Hsin-Jung Hsieh, agreed to sign the EU after admitting to underpaying a Chinese worker $12,933.
The worker had been employed to sort and pack vegetables between July 2017 and April last year.
Cherries Farm paid the woman $15 an hour in cash, when she was entitled to receive $23.51 an hour, and up to $35.27 on Saturdays and up to $47.02 for overtime hours.
Cherries Farm also gave Fair Work inspectors false and misleading records to disguise the unlawful cash payments.
What the Enforceable Undertaking says
Under the terms of the EU, Cherries Farm has promised to change its business practices to ensure it complies with workplace laws.
It will also engage independent auditors to check if any other employees have not been paid their proper wages and entitlements.
In addition to back paying the worker, it will also issue her an apology on its social media platforms.
Cherries Farm will also make a payment of $5,000 to the Commonwealth Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Enforceable Undertakings send wrong message
The EU’s have long been criticised by Miles Heffernan from WAGETHEFT.net.au, who says they send the wrong message to employers.
“Here we have a case where an employer has knowingly and deliberately flouted workplace laws to rip off a worker – why are they not being hauled before the courts to face the full force of the law?” he questioned.
“Wage theft has been allowed to run rampant in Australia because the regulator responsible for enforcing workplace laws hasn’t been doing enough enforcing.
“I’m sure these Enforceable Undertakings have their place in instances where a mistake has been made, but when you’ve got wilful and deliberate wage theft, the culprits should go to court.”
If you have not received your proper wages and entitlements, or are considering legal action to recover stolen wages, we can help.
Please call our specialist team at WAGETHEFT.net.au on
1300 1 THEFT (1300 184 338)
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