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Wage Theft & Underpayment Disputes

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Wage Theft

On 1 July 2021, the Victorian Government made it a crime for employers to underpay employees deliberately or dishonestly. This includes the dishonest withholding of wages, superannuation, and other entitlements.

The wage inspectorate of Victoria is tasked with investigating and prosecuting employers who allegedly engage in these types of activities.

It is important to note that it only becomes a crime if an employer engages in deliberate or dishonest conduct for the purpose of withholding wages or other entitlements.

If you suspect that your employer is deliberately withholding wages, it is important that you take detailed notes of the dates and times worked and cross reference your payslips and rosters. Once you have gathered your evidence, we suggest you write to your employer and clearly set out your claim and note their response. This should be done in writing, so you have a paper-trail.

If your employer ignores you, fails to action your queries, and acts in a dishonest and deliberate manner, you should contact Karlos Lawyers to provide you with advice and discuss your options which may include commencing legal proceedings and/or referring the matter to the Fair Work Ombudsman or the Wage Inspectorate of Victoria.

Underpayment claims

There are several scenarios which may result in an underpayment of wages. You may be underpaid if:

  • You are not paid in accordance with a particular Award.
  • You are mischaracterised under a particular applicable Award.

Underpayment may also occur if you are paid an annual salary, greater than the minimum salary dictated by an Award.

 

If you find yourself asked to perform more hours than a regular working week, working weekends and/or working afterhours you may be underpaid and disadvantaged, and this underpayment or disadvantage may be disguised by an annual salary.

In such instances, if you were paid in accordance with the applicable Award, you may be entitled to over-time and penalty rates in addition to your base-rate.

If you have been underpaid, whether it is deliberate or by reason of the employer’s negligence, ignorance, or by ‘mistake’, you may commence proceedings to recover damages and recoup your loss. If you believe you have been underpaid, you may be entitled to claim:

  • Payment of outstanding entitlements.
  • Interest on outstanding payments.
  • Aggravated or Exemplary damages if the actions of your employer are deliberate or dishonest in nature.

Casual employees may also be underpaid by their incorrect or inaccurate status of employment. In certain scenarios, Casual employees may be regarded as permanent employees with entitlements to annual and sick leave.

This can be the case if casual employees are working regular and systematic shifts with a reasonable expectation of continuing employment. For a casual employee to be eligible for entitlements, the employment must be regarded as regular and systematic and there must be evidence demonstrating employment that is repetitive and rigid in nature.

Repetitive, systematic, and predicable employment may aid you in establishing a reasonable expectation for ongoing employment.

Karlos Lawyers are experts in employment law; we can help you claim what’s yours and navigate the complex claims system.

We’re here to help

At Karlos Lawyers, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide real world advice. We back you in your time of need. Contact us today, tell us a little bit about your situation and let our team of experts guide you on where to from here.

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(May not be applicable to all dispute and may be subject to terms and conditions)

Not only do we back ourselves; we back you. You have suffered enough, and we know now is not the time to be worried about legal fees. That is why we offer many of our services on a No Win, No Fee basis. It costs you nothing to know where you stand. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Contact Karlos Lawyers today!

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