Businessman fined $42k over underpayments

11 December 2015

 A labour-hire operator in Melbourne who has been the subject of a “litany of complaints” has been fined $42,840 after deliberately underpaying two workers.

The Federal Circuit Court has imposed the penalty against Franco Cardamone following an investigation and legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Cardamone, whose business traded as Howsitgoingmate, underpaid two workers a total of $1970 for short periods of manual work in 2013 and 2014.

He also breached sham contracting laws by knowingly misclassifying one of the employees as a contractor and contravened his pay-slip obligations.

Cardamone also breached workplace laws by failing to respond to two Notices to Produce employment records issued by Fair Work inspectors. 

A Court Order made in August to back-pay the two workers in full was not complied with.

Judge Heather Riley said Cardamone had been the subject of a “litany of complaints” relating to underpayments and the Fair Work Ombudsman had previously made him aware “that his conduct was unlawful”.

“However, he continued to engage in it,” Judge Riley said. “Consequently, the court can only conclude that the breaches were deliberate.”

Judge Riley also noted that Cardamone had been involved with five failed companies with combined deficiencies of over $26 million.

In 2011, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) disqualified him from managing a corporation for five years.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the Court’s decision sends a clear message to employers that deliberately underpaying workers and ignoring warnings to comply with workplace laws is extremely serious conduct.

“We have received more than 30 underpayment allegations from employees of businesses operated by Mr Cardamone since 2013, and he must now pay a financial penalty for his unlawful and unacceptable conduct.”

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Follow Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James on Twitter @NatJamesFWO external-icon.png, the Fair Work Ombudsman @fairwork_gov_au External link icon or find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/fairwork.gov.au External link icon.

Sign up to receive the Fair Work Ombudsman’s media releases direct to your email inbox at www.fairwork.gov.au/mediareleases.

Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Assistant Media Director
Mobile: 0411 430 902
ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au

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