Gold Coast companies face Court over alleged sham contracting, underpayments
26 August 2013
The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched legal action against the operators of
two Gold Coast travel businesses, alleging they were involved
in sham contracting activity and underpaying six workers more than $25,000.
Facing Court are the companies Global Work & Travel Co. Pty Ltd and
Global Work & Travel Co. (Australia) Pty Ltd, which operate a business
selling working holiday programs and a travel agency, respectively, at
Also facing Court are the companies' owner-managers: married couple Caryl
Deborah Himmelmann and Pierre Michael Himmelmann and their son Jurgen Andreas
It is alleged that the Himmelmanns were involved in their companies breaching
sham contracting laws by misclassifying six workers at the Gold Coast businesses
as independent contractors when their correct classification was as
Three of the workers were travel agents, two worked as sales consultants and
one performed program coordinator and recruitment officer duties.
It is alleged that under workplace laws the workers should have been
classified as full-time employees for reasons including that the workers were
not conducting their own businesses and the companies, through the Himmelmanns,
exercised control over the way they performed their duties.
It is alleged the misclassification led to the workers being paid retainers
of $250 to $750 per week, plus commissions and bonuses based on sales - but that
they should have been paid Award employee entitlements including minimum wages,
leave pay, overtime and penalty rates.
The situation allegedly led to the workers being underpaid a total of $25,250
for various periods of work performed between January, 2011 and October,
The Fair Work Ombudsman discovered the alleged underpayments, as well as
record-keeping breaches, when it investigated complaints lodged by the workers.
The alleged underpayments were rectified in June this year.
Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James, said the seriousness of the alleged
breaches and the amounts involved were significant factors in the decision to
commence legal action.
It is alleged that the Himmelmanns were involved in their companies
committing multiple breaches of workplace laws. The individuals each face
penalties of up to $6,600 per breach and the company faces penalties of up to
$33,000 per breach.
A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane on 2
Employers and employees seeking assistance should
or contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free
interpreter service is available by calling 13 14 50.
0408 491 956
Want to save this information for later?
If you might need to read this information again, save it for later so you can access it quickly and easily.
Page reference No: 3133