One of the most formidable challenges that Korean business operators encounter, an open meeting about the Australian employment law and criminal law matters in relation to threats and blackmails from the organizations impersonating labour unions was held on the 24TH of July 2017 (Monday) at the Hanho Korean Daily Culture Centre where approximately 70 Korean business operators residing in Sydney attended.
Although there were many info sessions about the Australian employment law for the Korean Australian community, it was the first time having a public lecture related to the criminal law.
At the open meeting hosted by the Hanho Korean Daily and the ITap, Mr Ken and Mr John Kahn, lawyers from the H&H lawyers, shared useful information about the Australian employment law and criminal law respectively.
An editor from the Hanho Korean Daily, Mr Go Jik Soon explained the background of the open meeting as follows: “There were few occasions where some Korean business operators in Sydney were threatened and blackmailed in relation to their violation of the employment law by the people who are not from a government regulatory agency. Inspectors from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), which is the government agency in charge of labour management, investigate any issues according to due process of law . Thus, no one can and should not threaten, blackmail or extort any properties from the business operators even if they as employers have breached any employment laws. Today’s speech is to highlight the importance of employment law and explicate how to respond to the illegal acts such as blackmailing by a third party according to criminal law. In any case, I have prepared today’s event for your business to flourish while being able to cope with employment law.”
Thereafter, Mr Ken explained the critical points in understanding employment law and clarified the National Employment Standards(NES), Awards, Termination of employment in general and on grounds of redundancy, the FWO’s roles and the National Workplace Relations Employer Checklist. Mr Ken further explained the following matters regarding the Employer Checklist: distinct classifications of employees into those working 38 hour standard week, part-timers or casuals, that the workers, if working as employees in substance, cannot be hired as independent contractors with ABN, checking the Visa Entitlement Verification Online system (VEVO), mandatory record-keeping (including pay slip) obligations for 7 years, the illegality of paying salary in cash without tax deduction, a monthly superannuation contribution of more than $450 for receiving employees, mandatory obligation to offer a safe working environment. Also, he emphasized that an employer should prioritize and comply with an industrial agreement, an award, even more than an employment contract.
After the speech as to employment law, the Korean Australian business operators of hair salon and F&B industry shared to the rest about their personal experiences. The CEO of the Dongnim F&B, Mr Jong Yoon Byeon shared his OWN personal experiences while working with many different industries, and he also mentioned that when hiring employees, his company always ensures to take note of their employees’ visa conditions, entry dates, addresses both in Australia and Korea, and their emergency contact numbers.
Following that, during the speech about criminal law, Mr John Kahn illustrated about what procedures to take on the occasions if the police do not receive a report of a case which is ought to be done, demanding unjust requests by extortion or blackmailing (the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment), impersonating a Commonwealth official (maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment), stalking or intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical or mental harm (maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment or $5500 fines), Apprehended Violence order(AVO). In light of the extortion or blackmailing matters directed to the Korean employers in Sydney who pay low wages to their employees, Mr John Kahn said “employers should not respond to any types of threats to extort money. If they experience such, they should immediately report it to the police and share about it to their neighbours.”
Due to high attendance, the Q and A session followed by the speech lasted for almost approximately 50 minutes. One of the business operators introduced his own experience having been extorted and threatened by the Koreans who impersonated a labour union. Also another Korean Australian business operator asked the following question: “ In reality, there are many people from different communities besides the Koreans who complain that it is very difficult for them to do business while giving minimum wages to the employees. In fact, there are many people who give up doing business. Many of the business operators have concerns and doubts as to whether they can continue doing business. As the Australian government should have been already cognizant of such a realistic problem, why does the government still strive to enforce the law, and in light of that, what are the opinions of the lawyers?” Mr Ken explained “ Both the Australian government and the FWO recognize the current difficulties of doing business more than ever before. However, laws are to be obliged. Although 100% compliance with laws is difficult, it is still necessary to do business wisely within the boundaries of laws. Especially, it is important to refrain from committing very serious violations of laws such as fabricating documents. Also, if the FWO happens to intervene in labour dispute matters, it would be most sensible for business operators to be cooperative.” One of the employers in his 50s said that “ It is indeed true I have been doing business in a hit or miss manner. Thanks to the open meeting, I learnt a lot of new information. It was very helpful because it was the very first open meeting about employment and criminal law.
The speech at the open meeting would be further detailed in the Hanho Daily News Paper. Further, the speech would be recorded as a video accessible to everyone.
By So Hyun Jeon: firstname.lastname@example.org