In a recent case, the Fair Work Ombudsman has obtained penalties against a Victorian accounting firm, for knowingly helping a client exploit a vulnerable employee.

The accounting firm, EzyAccounting123 Pty Ltd, was penalised $53,880 after the courts found it had facilitated underpayments for their client and the employer, a fast food operator, Blue Impression Pty Ltd. Meanwhile, the employer was penalised $115,706 after admitting it had underpaid 2 employees $9549 during 2014-15. The accounting firm had been active in the facilitation of payments for one of the employees to a total of $750.

These underpayments occurred after the Fair Work Ombudsman had cautioned both the accounting firm and the employer in relation to underpayments in the past.

The acting Fair Work Ombudsman, Kristen Hannah, says employers should be aware that the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 has now come into effect, increasing the maximum penalties for conduct including deliberate exploitation of workers and false records.

Deliberately underpaying workers, and ignoring the warnings of the Fair Work Ombudsman come with a very significant financial cost. Business owners should also be aware of the accessorial liability penalties, when it comes to outsourcing their staffing requirements. Under the Act, an individual who is found to have accessorial liability may have to pay a penalty of up to $126,000.

You can read the full media release here.

Talk to our team, on 1300 766 380, or email [email protected], if you’ve got any concerns about your workplace obligations.