15 July 2009
Sydney businessman accused of underpaying Chinese workers
A Sydney businessman will face court for allegedly underpaying seven of his former staff more than $80,000.
They include a number of Chinese workers with limited English.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched a prosecution against Frank Huang in the NSW Chief Industrial Magistrates Court.
Huang was owner/operator of telecommunications companies China Huge International Pty Ltd - which traded as Optus World in Sydney’s Warringah Mall - and Chi Telecom Pty Ltd, which traded as Chi Telecom.
Workplace inspectors started investigating Huang’s companies in 2007 after receiving complaints from workers.
Court documents allege that four Chi Telecom employees were underpaid amounts of $28,200, $21,300, $21,000 and $6100.
The alleged shortfall was the result of underpayment of their wages, annual leave entitlements, penalty rates and superannuation.
The Fair Work Ombudsman also claims that three sales staff employed by China Huge International were underpaid wages and annual leave totalling more than $16,000.
Huang has only partially reimbursed two workers.
Apart from underpaying his staff and refusing to fully rectify the matter, the Fair Work Ombudsman says Huang also failed to issue pay slips to some employees and did not provide inspectors with records when asked.
China Huge International and Chi Telecom were placed into administration in February last year.
Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says the Agency has decided to prosecute Huang because of the significant amounts involved and his failure to fully rectify the underpayments.
“We will not hesitate to use our power to pursue individuals who we believe have violated workers’ rights,” he said.
Huang faces a maximum penalty of $6600 for each breach of workplace law.
Workers and employers alike can contact the FWO Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit www.fwo.gov.au for assistance.
Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations,
0419 818 484
Ryan Pedler, Media & Stakeholder Relations Senior Adviser
(03) 9954 2561, 0434 365 924