Early December the High Court unanimously upheld an appeal from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) in relation to a sham contracting matter affecting workers at a Perth accommodation facility. Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the High Court’s ruling on the matter is significant because it creates greater legal protection for employees against sham contracting activity, stated a 3 December FWO press release.
The High Court ruled that Quest South Perth Holdings Pty Ltd, which formerly operated the Quest on Arlington serviced apartments, ‘breached sham contracting laws when it attempted to convert three employees into independent contractors in 2009.
‘The High Court decision upholds allegations made in a legal action commenced by the Fair Work Ombudsman in 2011 and overturns an earlier decision on the matter by the Federal Court.
‘This was the first appeal lodged by the Fair Work Ombudsman in the High Court and it is the Fair Work Ombudsman’s first judgment from a substantive appeal in the High Court.’
“The High Court’s decision offers greater protections in situations where employers attempt to avoid responsibility for providing employees’ lawful minimum wages and entitlements by claiming employees are independent contractors,” Ms James commented.
A penalty hearing will now be scheduled in the Federal Court.