Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The Fair Work Ombudsman investigates minor workplace complaints. Underpayment of wages, non-payment of allowances, employees being overworked, that sort of thing.

In reality they investigate almost nothing, they are too lazy.

Upon receipt of a complaint they write a letter to the targeted employer, urging that employer to "resolve" the complaint. (translation: to pay the amount of shakedown money demanded)

This letter is followed by a telephone call. The telephone call makes oblique references to "full investigations" that may uncover who knows what, whereas if the complaint is "resolved" first (ie, the shakedown money is paid), there won't be any need to investigate & see what the employer is really up to. The FWO inspector then advises that the best outcome would be for the employer to "resolve" (pay the shakedown money) the complaint immediately.

If this resolution does not happen there will be further telephone calls, all using every emotional/manipulative trick in the book to urge the employer to "resolve" (pay the shakedown money) the complaint.

When the deadline passes without the complaint being resolved (the employer neglects to pay the shakedown money), the FWO will have to switch from aiding & abetting a shakedown, and go do some actual work.

Only at this point will they even bother to have a look-see at the complaint to see if it has any merit. They will demand the employer provide them with copies of all paperwork, timesheets, notes, payslips etc. that could be remotely relevant.

They don't even check which award or industrial instrument applies, instead they demand the employer do that for them. They really are that lazy.

At this point the complaint will be found to have no merit (well, every complaint against me anyway). They will write a letter to both parties stating such.

Favourite part:
In the glossary accompanying the initial letter from the Ombudsman, the disgruntled (former) employee is termed "the complainant" and the employer (that would be me) is termed "the wrongdoer".

A more incendiary bit of terminology you'd do well to find a government department using on someone who doesn't have a blemish to their name.


JeffS said...

Yes, this "agency" does sound a trifle biased, don't they?

Anonymous said...

Mark Steyn made the comment during his recent contretemps that the process is the punishment.