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Cleaners allegedly had $130,000 unlawfully deducted from their wages

A Melbourne recruitment and labour hire company allegedly falsified its employment records and unlawfully deducted tens of thousands of dollars from the wages of dozens of cleaners.

Oz Staff Career Services Pty Ltd faces civil proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court following an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman

Also facing Court is the company's sole director, Travice Blom, of Patterson Lakes, and a third person employed as a manager at the company.

In documents filed in the Court, the Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that Oz Staff Career Services unlawfully deducted a total of $130,183 from the wages of 102 employees between December, 2011 and May, 2013.

Alleged underpayments of individual employees range from $5 to $2246.

Fair Work inspectors selected the 102 employees as a sample group from Oz Staff Career Service's staff and checked their entitlements when they audited the company in 2012.

Oz Staff Career Services allegedly on-hired the employees to a third party to undertake cleaning work at Federation Square and Crown Casino.

Court papers allege that 'administration fees' of around $25 a week and lesser amounts for 'meal fees' were deducted from employees' wages.

The Fair Work Ombudsman submits that the deductions were unlawful because they were not principally for the benefit of the employees and the employees had not authorised them in accordance with workplace laws.

According to a Statement of Claim, administration-fee deductions continued to be made despite Mr Blom telling Fair Work Inspectors that they would cease.

Oz Staff Career Services allegedly further breached workplace laws when it provided inspectors with false and misleading records that did not contain details of the deductions.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the seriousness of the alleged breaches and the involvement of vulnerable workers are significant factors in the Agency's decision to commence legal action.

Oz Staff Career Services faces maximum penalties of between $33,000 and $51,000 per breach, while the individuals each face maximum penalties ranging from $6600 to $10,200 per breach.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking penalties and a Court Order for Oz Staff Career Services to rectify any underpayments that have not been rectified.

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