The behaviour of a former Gold Coast recruitment company which underpaid staff has been labelled as predatory conduct by the Federal Magistrate’s Court.
Star Human Resources Management general-manager, sole director and shareholder Linda Georgiou was accused by the federal Workplace Ombudsman of underpaying four staff more than $13,000. Handing down his decision in court, Federal Magistrate Michael Burnett fined Georgiou $7920 – sending a message to the business community that it needs to meet minimum standards or pay a penalty.
The Workplace Ombudsman initiated legal proceedings against Georgiou over Star HRM’s failure to pay minimum wages, accrued annual leave entitlements and termination payments.
Workplace Ombudsman Queensland state director Julie Wade says the court noted a lack of remorse on Georgiou’s part. She said it was disappointing that although there had been a partial reimbursement of employee entitlements once legal proceedings began, there had been limited co-operation from the employer during the Workplace Ombudsman’s investigation.
“The court found that Georgiou’s predatory conduct against vulnerable employees was behaviour which is unacceptable to the community,’’ Ms Wade said.
Ms Wade said Queenslanders need to understand there is an agency they can turn to if they don’t think they are receiving their proper entitlements. Last month, an audit of restaurants, cafes and caterers in central and northern Queensland recouped $97,000 for about 270 staff who had been underpaid.