Media company faces serious penalties

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The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has launched legal action against a Melbourne media company for allegedly underpaying two young workers.

The company, Crocmedia, which produces and sells radio and television programmes, allegedly committed multiple breaches of workplace laws for which it faces maximum penalties of $16,000 to $51,000 per breach.

The two young workers, who complained to the FWO, claim that they regularly worked multiple shifts per week and produced radio programmes that were broadcast on the SEN network. They were allegedly underpaid a total of more than $20,000.

The first, aged 20-21, was a sports journalism student still attending university, the other, aged 23-24, was a recent graduate of a journalism course at university.

The FWO will allege in court that the workers should have been classified as casual employees and been paid more than $18 an hour, instead of being misclassified as volunteers or contractors.

The younger worker is allegedly entitled to be paid $5,767 for work performed between August 2012 and February 2013, but wasn’t paid anything at all. The other, is allegedly entitled to be paid $19,341 for work performed between June 2011 and August 2012, but was only paid $2940.

Fair Work Ombudsman executive eirector, Steve Ronson, said that the significant alleged underpayment of vulnerable young workers, and the need to deter employers from such behaviour, were key factors in the decision to commence legal action.

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