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Local telco exploited students, court finds

A local telecommunications reseller, Sprint Telco, has been ordered to pay over $7,000 in unpaid wages and superannuation to an overseas student visa holder after she brought a claim against the company in the Federal Circuit Court.

The case was heard in the Court rather than the Fair Work Commission (FWC) because that allowed the student to have the matter heard more quickly, before she returned home to Columbia.

The student told the Court that she had initially been paid regularly (although not, it was revealed, at award rates). After a while, though, she was paid less frequently and at one point wasn’t paid for a month.

A Sprint director threatened to report her to the Department of Immigration for visa breaches if she complained. The court was also told that the same director had threatened another worker who complained about underpayment that he would place cocaine in her bags and report her to the police.

Sprint Telco, which is a Telstra reseller and advertises itself as having “Australia’s best 4G network”, seems to have got off lightly. The judge who heard the case, Alister McNab, suggested that the company and its directors may well have incurred a “substantial penalty” if the case had gone to the FWC.

Source: Workplace Express

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