The operator of a collapsed Melbourne marketing company has been slapped with a $17,500 fine for "brazen" behaviour in exploiting interns.
The Federal Circuit Court found that Naomi-Jayne Aldred, who ran Nexus Coaching Group until it fell into liquidation in 2013, took advantage of three young graduates in a competitive industry. Aldred had the interns working for free for three months in mid-2012.
Judge Grant Riethmuller called the claims made in a letter of employment to the interns “brazen” and “simply false”.
“The effect of these letters, at best was misleading and deceptive if one accepts that the respondent was unaware that she was breaching the laws, if not completely reckless, and at worse formed part of a calculated and carefully executed fraud upon these three young women,” Riethmuller says.
Aldred had rectified an under-payment of almost $10,200 in August 2014 after legal proceedings commenced.
The case was brought to court by the Fair Work Ombudsman's Natalie James, who warned employers considering unpaid work schemes as a source of free labour.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman is committed to protecting vulnerable young workers as they enter the workforce and will take action in cases of serious non-compliance,” she says.
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