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NSW Employment Law - Employer Issuing Threats - Contact Police?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by james4259, 27 September 2015.

  1. james4259

    james4259 Member

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    My employer stopped paying me about 3 weeks ago and I basically quit but am still trying to get the money he owes me.

    I've threatened to take this to Fair Work Australia if he doesn't pay me and while conceding (in text messages) that he owes me money and that he will sort it out, he has done nothing but avoid paying me every time he's established a time for me to see him. Today I told him that I'm not interested chasing it up anymore and that I'll just take legal action and he started sending me veiled threats. The head chef at my workplace has also threatened me over semi-related issues.

    I already know enough about Employment Law that I'm certain he will be in a lot of trouble if I were to take my diary records to Fair Work Australia (along with other former staff that have been done poorly by him, including but not limited to his verbal threats of stabbing three former female employees - this was three separate occasions in private)

    What I'm concerned about are whether the threats he has made to me warrant contacting police.

    These are the threats that have been made to me:
    21/9 - had a phone conversation with the head chef. He was mostly just yelling and swearing at me and I basically told him I quit (I think I said "fire me I don't care I'm not working for you anymore because I'm not paid"). That call ended but he immediately called me back to tell me he's "going to bash me if I turn up to collect my pay" and he repeated that about 4 times.

    25/9 - owner messages me and says "Well does ur family know your drug f**ked and u don't know what's what and already been paid most of it..." (this wasn't really a threat but it was abusive and false - I don't do drugs, period, although most of that staff at this workplace do and everybody has seen the owner and head chef snorting coke on the premises)

    27/9 - turned up at work at the time arranged by the owner for me to be reimbursed my missing pay. Owner didn't show up. Head chef was angry that I was there and approached me and told me "if you ever speak to me like that again I will bash you" and he repeated that a few times as well - a friend was with me when he said this but there were also other staff and patrons present.

    27/9 - [Owner text message] "Yeah we know about you c**t Watch your f**king mouth"

    27/9 - [Owner text message] "You selling s**t to my workers, I've got recording you stupid c**t! So go f**k yourself before you get hurt." - this was a lie again but does this veiled threat of violence constitute a real threat of violence?
     
  2. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    1. Going to the police won't get you the money you are owed.
      Unpaid wages is a civil dispute and as such is not something they get involved in.

    2. The police won';t much like being a bargaining chip between you and him over unpaid wages.
      They'll make their own assessment of the text messages once you show them.

    3. Fairwork has timeframes for things - check their website and see if you are still "within time".

    4. Can you prove the amount you claim to be owed?
     
  3. james4259

    james4259 Member

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    Thanks for the help. A few things however:

    I'm not trying to use the police to get money from him, I'm wondering whether this constitutes a threat to my personal safety (or rather if it would in the eyes of the police and more importantly if there is anything worthwhile they can do about it but maybe this is the wrong place to ask)

    I'm vaguely aware of the timeframes with fairwork and as far as I know the only major one is if you're applying for unfair dismissal (I think I quit, technically, and either way I definitely don't want to continue working there!)

    I'm not sure how well I can prove from a legal standpoint that I'm owed any wages. I keep logbooks and diary records since I started working because being paid cash without PayG summaries kind of bothered me but I was desperate for work and didn't have many options. Still a bad idea to accept the job in hindsight. What are the legal ramifications of this for me and him?
     
  4. Ponala

    Ponala Well-Known Member

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    The threats made are not direct enough for Police to action.
     
  5. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    If you have a reasonable apprehension that he may attempt to carry out any of the threats he has made,
    then there may be grounds for an order.
    Have a read of their website and see if that helps clarify your situation.
    From an ATO point of view, it's the employer's job to collect PAYG tax.
    You may find it helpful to go to the tax office and say something like
    "I don't think my employer has been withholding the right amount of tax".
    If you do it NOW, rather than when you do your own tax return, then you may find that they might be more interested in him than in you for getting that money.
    (...attention from the ATO is usually something dodgy employers want to avoid....)
     

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