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Victorian accounting firm Ezy Accounting 123 Pty Ltd has been penalised $53,880 after the Federal Circuit Court found that it facilitated underpayments by its client, fast food operator Blue Impression Pty Ltd.

Blue Impression has been penalised an additional $115,706 for underpaying two workers at its fast food outlet in the Melbourne CBD a total of $9549 between September 2014 and April 2015.

Ezy Accounting 123 provided payroll services for Blue Impression and processed wage payments for one of the workers despite knowing the rates the worker was being paid were below lawful minimums.

In relation to the worker Ezy Accounting 123 was involved in underpaying, Ezy submitted in Court that the worker “was not Ezy’s employee” and that “Ezy did not exploit (the employee) in his work”.

However, Judge O’Sullivan said that it was a “circumstance of aggravation” that Ezy Accounting 123 had been “knowingly involved in conduct that constitutes illegality”.

“Ezy was not subject to direction by (Blue Impression) as an employee,” Judge O’Sullivan said. “Ezy was involved in a relationship with (Blue Impression) where it provided payroll services. As such it must put compliance with the law ahead of business interests. Ezy had a responsibility to ensure there was compliance with, inter alia, the FW Act.”

Know Your Legal Obligations

To avoid big fines and penalties, expensive back-pay orders and damaging employee claims, employers must pay employees correctly in accordance with Australian employment laws such as the Fair Work Act 2009.

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