The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a $22,440 penalty against the former owner-operator of a labour-hire company following the underpayment of 80 workers on a Queensland mushroom farm. The Federal Court has imposed the penalty against Ms Tao Hu, who operated labour-hire company HRS Country Pty Ltd before it went into liquidation in 2016.
Ms Hu admitted that she was involved in underpaying 80 employees a total of $78,664 over an eight-month period in 2014 at a mushroom farm, at Stapylton, south of Brisbane. The Court ordered that Ms Hu’s penalty be distributed by the Fair Work Ombudsman to the employees to partially rectify the underpayments, which remain outstanding.
The workers were employed by Ms Hu’s labour-hire company, which was contracted to supply labour to the farm. Some of the underpaid employees were migrant workers, including visa holders. The underpaid employees were paid a flat hourly rate of $16.37.