Labour-hire company fined $48,000 over underpayment of Indian student

The operators of a Victorian labour-hire company have been fined a total of $48,000 for underpaying an Indian student.

Butler & Blackberry Melbourne Pty Ltd, which was engaged in supplying catering and hospitality workers to clients, has been penalised $40,000.

And the company's sole director and part-owner Lenny Scalia, of Taylors Hill in Melbourne, has been fined a further $8000.

The Federal Magistrates Court in Melbourne has imposed the penalties following an investigation and prosecution by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The male Indian national aged in his late 20s was in Australia on student and bridging visas.

He was underpaid a total of $8990 for more than 430 hours work as a casual kitchen attendant in 2010.

The underpayment occurred when the company sent the employee to work in the junior mess hall at HMAS Cerberus naval base at Crib Point, south-east of Melbourne.

Butler & Blackberry Melbourne has back-paid the employee $1000 - but the Court has ordered it rectify the outstanding $7990.

Federal Magistrate John O'Sullivan said the case was serious, involving "a significant underpayment to a vulnerable employee".

Both Scalia and Butler & Blackberry Melbourne had demonstrated "a general disregard for compliance with Australia's workplace laws."

"There is a need for general deterrence and to ensure employers understand they must take steps to ensure correct employee entitlements are paid," FM O'Sullivan said.


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