FOREIGN WORKERS TARGETED
A Queensland labour-hire company and its manager have been penalised a total of more than $84 000 after flouting recordkeeping and pay-slip laws relating to vulnerable foreign workers, despite having previously been cautioned by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
The penalties have been imposed against HTA Farmings Pty Ltd and company manager Tuan Anh Le in the Federal Circuit Court, following legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
HTA Farmings has been penalised $70 550 and Mr Le has been penalised an additional $14 110.
The Fair Work Ombudsman attempted to conduct a full audit of HTA Farmings in 2015 as part of its national Harvest Trail Inquiry into exploitation of overseas workers on Australian farms.
However, a lack of basic records of hours worked by employees meant that the Fair Work Ombudsman was only able to calculate the entitlements of six out of 265 employees HTA Farmings had supplied to pick and pack strawberries at a Caboolture strawberry farm.
It was determined that the six employees were underpaid a total of $316 over limited periods for which records were available.
The employer’s failure to comply with their lawful record keeping obligations prevented the FWO from determining whether the remaining 259 employees were paid their lawful entitlements.
Many of the employees were overseas workers from Asian countries and were in Australia on 417 working holiday visas at the time.