After an Indian-national working in Australia was fired for taking sick leave for one day, he went to the Fair Work Ombudsman to discuss his case. Shockingly, the proceedings uncovered that he had not been paid for four months of work. He had stayed quiet because he hoped he would be sponsored for work by the now-closed restaurant in Perth.
While this seems to be a particularly untoward situation, evidently it can happen. The restaurant sector in particular has accounted for approximately 25% of legal actions by the Fair Work Ombudsman in the last two years. The Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 instituted significant increases of the maximum penalties for conduct including deliberate exploitation of workers, in an attempt to deter employers from this and other types of abuse.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says: “There is no place in Australia for this kind of highly exploitative and callous treatment of a young, overseas worker – and we will not hesitate to pursue any business operator who seeks to engage in this type of conduct.”
It is reassuring to know that there is a government body committed to ensuring that workplaces uphold regulations that have thoughtfully been put in place. If ever you feel that you are being exploited as an employee or employer, please do not hesitate to contact us so we can support you in taking the most appropriate course of action.
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