A Melbourne recruitment and labour hire company allegedly falsified its employment records and unlawfully deducted tens of thousands of dollars from the wages of dozens of cleaners, states a 14 February Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) release.
Oz Staff Career Services Pty Ltd faces civil proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court following an investigation by the FWO. Also facing Court is the company’s sole director, Travice Blom, of Patterson Lakes (Victoria), and a third person employed as a manager at the company.
In documents filed in the Court, the FWO alleges that Oz Staff Career Services unlawfully deducted a total of $130,183 from the wages of 102 employees between December 2011 and May 2013.
Alleged underpayments of individual employees range from $5 to $2246.
FWO inspectors selected the 102 employees as a sample group from Oz Staff Career Service’s staff and checked their entitlements when auditing the company in 2012.
“Oz Staff Career Services allegedly on-hired the employees to a third party to undertake cleaning work at Federation Square and Crown Casino.
Court papers allege that ‘administration fees’ of around $25 a week and lesser amounts for ‘meal fees’ were deducted from employees’ wages,” the FWO notes.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman submits that the deductions were unlawful because they were not principally for the benefit of the employees and the employees had not authorised them in accordance with workplace laws.
According to a Statement of Claim, administration-fee deductions continued to be made despite Mr Blom telling Fair Work Inspectors that they would cease.
“Oz Staff Career Services allegedly further breached workplace laws when it provided inspectors with false and misleading records that did not contain details of the deductions.”
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the seriousness of the alleged breaches and the involvement of vulnerable workers are significant factors in the Agency’s decision to commence legal action.
Oz Staff Career Services faces maximum penalties of between $33,000 and $51,000 per breach, while the individuals each face maximum penalties ranging from $6600 to $10,200 per breach.
The FWO is seeking penalties and a Court Order for Oz Staff Career Services to rectify any underpayments that have not been rectified.
It is also seeking Court Orders requiring the company to:
* Cease making unlawful deductions of administration and meal fees from employees’ wages,
* Write to all cleaners it employed between December 2011 and May 2013 informing them of the outcome of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s legal action,
* Appoint a contact person to handle employee inquiries,
* Commission workplace relations compliance training for Travice Blom and the manager at the company, and
* Provide evidence to the FWO that it has complied with the Orders.
A directions hearing for the case is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne on 6 March.