Since mid-2016, over 20,000 individuals have anonymously reported employers to the Fair Work Ombudsman via their anonymous report tool.
This tool allows individuals, including both ex and current employees, to notify the Ombudsman about alleged workplace breaches without revealing their identity.
To date, employers in the Hospitality industry and Retail industry have made up a majority of the reported complaints via this tool.
As a result of such anonymous reporting, the Fair Work Ombudsmen may take action to investigated alleged breaches. A recent example of this was an investigation conducted by Fair Work inspectors into a Gold Coast restaurateur after one of his employees anonymously tipped them off. The inspectors arrived at the restaurant unannounced and found that the business’s owner had underpaid 22 of his employees a total amount of $54.470, with individual underpayments ranging from $143 to $9,457.
The impacted employees were predominately international students or temporary work visa holders.
As a result of this anonymous report, the employer was required to:
- enter into an Enforceable Undertaking in which is required to pay back his workers through a payment plan,
- donate $25,000 to the Gold Coast Community Legal Centre.
- Engage and pay for an external auditor to conduct two audits of the pay and conditions of his employees to demonstrate that he is now complying with the Fair Work Act, and
- provide workplace relations training to all his managers, payroll and human resource staff.
The Fair Work anonymous reporting tool enables employees to make a report in either English or 16 other languages.
Migrant employees are able to seek assistance from the Fair Work Ombudsmen or make such reports without worrying about impacting on their visas.
It is important that as an employer, you are aware of your obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and applicable modern awards, particularly with respect to wage and payment rates, entitlements and allowances.
For assistance in understanding your obligations, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.