“Falsifying records and providing them to the Fair Work Ombudsman is extremely serious conduct and it will be met with the strongest possible enforcement action,” Ms Parker said.
“Employers also need to be aware that taking action to protect vulnerable workers, including visa holders, and improve compliance in the fast food, restaurant and café sector continue to be priorities for the FWO. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”
Judge Salvatore Vasta found that Riddhi Siddhi and Ms Sharma had falsified records to make it appear the Nepalese worker had been paid Award rates and provided the records to the FWO in “an attempt to obfuscate the truth and to ensure that any proper investigation was never able to be pursued”.
“The severity and seriousness of what (Riddhi Siddhi and Ms Sharma) have done cannot be overstated. This was a deception that went to the heart of the fair industrial and employment system of this country,” Judge Vasta said.
“The need for the Court to impose a deterrent penalty, not just specifically but, very importantly, generally to all others who may be tempted to somehow pervert what it is that the Fair Work Act is doing with regard to the proper balance between the rights of employers and the rights of employees, must be made clear.”
“The Courts will simply not tolerate such brazen contraventions of the intentions of the Commonwealth Parliament.”
Judge Vasta described the conduct as “extremely difficult to detect”.
“If it were not for the employee having the sense to take photographs of each of the time sheets, if it were not for the employee going to work via public transport and using a go card, and if it were not for the employee having a Google phone that was able to GPS-track his movements for over six months, the scheme, or device, used by (Riddhi Siddhi and Ms Sharma) would never have unravelled as it has now,” Judge Vasta said.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has an agreement with the Department of Home Affairs, called the Assurance Protocol, where visa holders can ask for our help without fear of their visa being cancelled for breaches of their work-related visa conditions.