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The Federal Court has imposed a significant fine of nearly $75,000 on the University of Melbourne for violating fair work legislation. This penalty comes after two casual academic staff members were threatened for requesting payment for work conducted beyond their contracted hours. The Fair Work Ombudsman pursued legal action against the university following complaints from the staff members, who alleged they were warned by their supervisor that claiming payment for extra hours could jeopardize their future employment opportunities.

Judge Craig Dowling found the university guilty of breaching the Fair Work Act on two counts: firstly, for threatening the staff members, and secondly, for failing to re-employ one of the casual academics. The judge emphasized that employees have the right to be compensated for work performed and to voice concerns about their workload without facing repercussions, especially when their job security is at stake. This violation was deemed a serious contravention of the Fair Work Act.

Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth condemned the University of Melbourne’s actions, stating that they directly undermine employee rights and inhibit individuals from speaking up about workplace issues. She highlighted ongoing investigations into underpayment allegations within various universities across the country, urging employers to proactively ensure they comply with workplace laws and rectify any issues promptly.

In light of this case, it is evident that safeguarding employee rights and fostering a culture of compliance within organizations are crucial aspects of maintaining a fair and respectful work environment.


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Article Title: Melbourne University fined almost $75,000 for threatening casual academics
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