The Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating a Victorian man over allegations he has exploited backpackers working in the fruit picking industry, paying them as little as 60 cents per hour. The Ombudsman received several complaints prior to Christmas including allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and exploitation.
The man allegedly charged international workers a $450.00 “job finding” fee and was reportedly housing up to 32 workers in one home and a dozen or so more in an adjoining garage.
As a seasonal industry, the Australian Workers Union (AWU) is concerned that exploitation of foreign workers is rife in the fruit picking industry.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has said it is now stepping up its investigations of the employment arrangements within the industry, saying “Some of these matters are obviously outside our jurisdiction, but clearly where we identify these matters we do pass them on to the appropriate local authorities [and] that might be the police”.
If you feel that your employment law rights have been breached or you would like advice on your rights as an employee, contact Peter Moore at Brazel Moore Lawyers on (02) 4324 7699 to speak to an experienced local lawyer today.