New Zealand Law Society - Auckland grocer penalised for attempt to exploit migrant worker

Auckland grocer penalised for attempt to exploit migrant worker

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An Auckland grocer has been penalised $12,000 by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) after a Labour Inspectorate investigation uncovered attempts to charge a migrant worker a premium.

Raw N Fresh Ltd and its director Amardeep Singh, who had traded as both Drury Lane Fruit and Vegies and Waiuku Fruit and Veges, demanded the newly-employed shop manager pay $20,000, then reduced their demand to $18,000, in exchange for supporting the employee’s visas.

Both times the employee refused, choosing instead to leave his job and report the matter to the Labour Inspectorate.

Read the full report here.

“Employers who exploit vulnerable workers by making them pay premiums in exchange for a job breach New Zealand law, and it will not be tolerated,” says Labour Inspectorate regional manager Loua Ward.

“This practice takes advantage of migrants who may not be aware of all their rights and entitlements in New Zealand, or may not feel like they have any other option.

“We understand it can be difficult for employees to come forward and raise concerns about the way they are being treated by an employer.

“The Labour Inspectorate takes these matters very seriously and is part of an all-of-government approach to combatting migrant exploitation in its various forms,” says Loua Ward.

Half of the $12,000 penalty is to go to the employee.

The Ministry encourages anyone in this situation, or who knows of anyone in this situation, to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20.