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VIC Can Unpaid Wages Be a Criminal Offence?

Discussion in 'Criminal Law Forum' started by Rod, 18 September 2014.

  1. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Hi guys,

    Can the underpayment of award wages be considered to be a criminal offence under criminal law, especially when the employer was given notice that he was underpaying, and while he increased wages, they were still below award rates?

    Thinking 'financial advantage by deception'.

    The director of the business is trying to avoid repayment of wages and is threatening legal action of his own to avoid paying back wages. I understand the Fair Work Act 2009 covers the underpayments, however this is becoming personal by the employer and the person who was underpaid wants the employer to back off from his workplace bullying tactics so is looking for the appropriate criminal charges that can be laid against the employer.

    Can the person that was underpaid have the employer charged with a criminal offence in Victoria? If so what are the possible crimes that have been committed by the employer?
     
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  2. hlly

    hlly Well-Known Member

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    It's unlikely. What deception do you propose there is?
     
  3. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Deliberately, or was wilfully negligent, in underpaying award wages.
     
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  4. hlly

    hlly Well-Known Member

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    "Deception" refers to a misrepresentation of facts. You are talking about non-payment of a debt.
     
  5. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    The employer was told the employee was being underpaid. He said he'd pay above award rates and misrepresented that fact he would fix it and starting to pay above award rates, when he in fact he was still paying below award rates.
     
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  6. Owens Lawyers

    Owens Lawyers Well-Known Member

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    I doubt there is any criminal offence here where the police would get involved - unless the bullying constitutes intimidation.

    However, the employer can be penalised (fined) under the Fair Work Act, but only if someone starts legal action to recover the underpayment.

    The person should start by contacting the Fair Work Ombudsman.
     
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  7. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Sadly there appears to be consensus there is no criminal option, at least in this case.
     
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