Criminal Cases

USA – Jan 2017 – “The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that New York-based asset manager BlackRock Inc. has agreed to pay a $340,000 penalty to settle charges that it improperly used separation agreements in which exiting employees were forced to waive their ability to obtain whistleblower awards.  According to the SEC’s order, more than 1,000 departing BlackRock employees signed separation agreements containing violative language stating that they “waive any right to recovery of incentives for reporting of misconduct” in order to receive their monetary separation payments from the firm.”

Civil Cases

Aus – June 2017 – “penalties and declaratory relief – breach of multiple provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) including div 6 (sham contracting provisions) – grouping of contraventions – whether there was a single course of conduct – assessment of penalties –relevant considerations”  Fair Work Ombudsman v Quest South Perth Holdings Pty Ltd (No 4) [2017] FCA 580.

Aus – Feb 2017 – “Penalty – contraventions of modern award relating to remuneration – failure to provide meal breaks – failure to employ for a minimum of three hours per day – liability conceded – appropriate penalties to be imposed – relevant considerations.” FWO v Something Aussie Pty Ltd & Anr [2017] FCCA 186.

Aus – Nov 2016 – “Default judgment against first and second respondents based on contraventions of the FWA through failure to comply with Compliance Notices – where the respondents are based on Taiwan – where the workers live in the Philippines but worked in Australia pursuant to subclass 400 visas – where the employment was found to be sufficiently connected to Australia – where accessorial liability of the second respondent established – where it is appropriate to make orders on default judgment which vary from orders sought in Statement of Claim” FWO v Chia Tung Development Corp Ltd & Anor [2016] FCCA 2777.

Aus – Nov 2016 – misc underpayment etc offences – “quantification of penalties – moral responsibility of a number of respondents – the need for both specific and general deterrence  – detailed co-operation in respect to facts – admission of liability – withholding of any details as to financial circumstances – an order requiring an audit to be undertaken” Fair Work Ombudsman v Yogurberry World Square Pty Ltd [2016] FCA 1290.

Aus – Oct 2016 – FWO v  Global Express Consultancy Pty Ltd & Anor [2016] FCCA 2446 – “The applicant, Fair Work Ombudsman (“FWO”) and respondents agree that Global contravened the Fair Work Act2009 (Cth) (“FW Act[1]”) and Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth)(“FW Regulations”) by failing to pay employees minimum weekly wages, casual loading, penalty rates, and overtime rates as well as deducting unauthorised amounts from pay and failing to provide employees with a payslip which recorded deductions from pay.”

Aus – Sep 2016 – Fair Work Ombudsman v Grouped Property Services Pty Ltd [2016] FCA 1034 – calculated exploitation of a vulnerable workforce.

Aus – Sep 2016 – FWO v Sonisolar Pty Ltd & Anor [2016] FCCA 2027 – failure to provide appropriate wage slips, underpayment of employees etc – hairdressing salons – $100,000 pecuniary penalty to the corporate respondent.

Aus – Sep 2016 – FWO v Sakuraya Warrigal Pty Ltd & Ors [2016] FCCA 2033 – underpayment of employees (admitted) – judgment sets out how to calculate a civil pecuniary penalty (ultimately $140,000 for the corporate respondent).

USA – Aug 2016 – Civil settlement resolving DOJ litigation alleging that Hartz Mountain Industries Inc violated the Immigration and Nationality Act by requiring job applicants to be US citizens.

Administrative Actions

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