An employer has been fined more than $200,000 in the first racial discrimination case litigated by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).
The Federal Circuit Court found that the employer discriminated against two migrant on account of their Malaysian nationality and Chinese descent.
Brian Newman - Director of Investigations & Advocacy
The workers were paid significantly less than Australian employees (in many instances below the award rate) and were required to work longer hours.
The employer’s disregard of its obligations towards the workers was also seen its failure to keep a record of their hours.
The FWO established that the workers were recruited, in part, because the owner knew that Malaysians would accept working longer hours and for less pay.
Further, the owner exploited the Chinese cultural connection between himself and the workers by referring to them as family to pressure them to work harder.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James has said that the case highlights the uncomfortable truth that “racial discrimination is a driver behind some of the exploitation of migrant workers in this country”.
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Read the FWO’s media release here.