The FWO has won its first "serious contravention" penalties three years after the provisions were added to the Fair Work Act, a café and its former general manager fined a total of $230,000 on their second visit to court for underpaying workers.
A 61-year-old former economics professor has been fined $31,000 for underpaying two visa holders employed at a Korean grocery, a court finding he deliberately arranged for them to receive as little as $10 an hour.
An accountancy firm that created and gave the FWO false records covering up a massage parlour's underpayments must pay more per breach than the family-run employer, which has been fined about 10% of the penalties sought by the workplace watchdog.
A federal court judge has in fining an underpaying juice shop operator almost $35,000 flatly rejected "cultur[al] differences" as a mitigating factor, lamenting instead the frequency with which ethnically diverse employers exploit their own communities.
In a significant decision on FWO investigative powers under recent laws stiffening protections for vulnerable workers, the Federal Court has rejected a franchisor's bid to have declared void a notice to produce documents created before the legislation came into force.
Service station owners who required a visa-dependent employee to hand over his tax refund and cover the cost of drive-offs have been ordered to compensate the former console operator and his fellow-worker wife more than $50,000 after a court found them accessorily liable for underpayments.
The FWO is prosecuting the operators of a Sydney restaurant for allegedly underpaying a skilled worker on a SubClass 457 visa by more than $150,000 while they maintained "overall control" of his bank account.