Employer told to pay out $74,000

19 Oct


By Lincoln Tan (NZ Herald October 17, 2012)

A company that made a migrant worker pay her own wages in a money-go-round scheme to support her application for New Zealand permanent residency has been ordered to pay more than $74,000 in repayments and penalties.

Chinese national Jingxin Tian lodged a personal grievance claim for unjustifiable dismissal with the Employment Relations Authority after she claimed to have paid South Pacific Limited a total of $33,510 to secure employment, but was sacked on June 13.

She paid an initial $27,000 for the job, but had to make further payments of $6,510 to retain her employment.

Miss Tian also claimed she did not receive a written employment agreement and was owed outstanding wages and holiday pay.

She was dismissed without her knowledge following an accident at work, and was relayed the message by a colleague.

Authority member Anna Fitzgibbon found in her decision yesterday that South Pacific had breached the Wages Protection Act for collecting a payment from Miss Tian in respect of her employment. The company was ordered to repay $33,510, plus a penalty of $10,000, wages of $12,400 and holiday pay of $1,455.20 to Miss Tian.

Ms Fitzgibbon also found South Pacific to have unjustifiably dismissed Miss Tian, for which she was awarded $10,000 in compensation and the company was fined $5000 for breaching its statutory obligations of good faith. Miss Tian was also awarded $1750 in costs.

“It is my finding that … Ms [Catherine] Guo [South Pacific director] was aware of Ms Tian’s desire to obtain an open work visa and eventually permanent residence,” Ms Fitzgibbon said in her decision.

“Ms Guo… took advantage of Ms Tian’s youth and inexperience, immigration status and vulnerability.”

Ms Tian, 22, came to New Zealand in February 2008 and graduated from the UUNZ Institute of Business in 2010.

Ms Tian was told that she would be working for the Asian Business Year Book, which was part of South Pacific, where she was to sell advertising space.

She was told she would be paid $200 a week during a three-month “trial” and a wage increase if things worked out – but was paid $300 fortnightly in cash.

When Ms Tian queried the fact that PAYE was not deducted and paid to IRD, Ms Guo agreed to pay the PAYE but only if Ms Tian reimbursed South Pacific.

“Effectively, Ms Tian was paying South Pacific to keep employing her,” Ms Fitzgibbon said.


4 Responses to “Employer told to pay out $74,000”

  1. meandmybum October 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    how about posting the ethnicity of her employer instead of trying to make all nzers look bad
    this site seriously need some sadly lacking balls

    • unitenews October 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

      Firstly the post is a press release by First Union – not Unite – it is just re-posted.

      Secondly, you seem obsessed by ethnicity. If you are trying to say that all migrant employers are bad or that no New Zealand born employers exploit their workers then you are just wrong. Of course many migrant workers end up with migrant employers and because the workers are more vulnerable they do tend to get exploited by them. Our experience of migrants working for New Zealand born employers (including large corporations) is that, unless a union or labour inspectors step in, they are subject to the same exploitation.

      You really need to get over your obsession about migrant workers. They all want better conditions and wages just the same as kiwi workers. It is only ignorance, bullying and isolation that hinders them – the same problems that stop most kiwi-born workers getting together for better wages and conditions. Attacking migrants hasn’t ever improved the conditions of working people in history – quite the opposite. United we stand and divided we fall.

      • meandmybum October 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

        No ,I’m saying many are but people like you feel the need to cover for them and pretend people like me who know the truth are bad.
        Why are we importing unskilled workers into a country with our unemployment problem. They all go to a lot of trouble to get here, especially the asians who know our welfare systems inside out before they get here and if their qualifications are recognised. they are not stupid people. But still they get away with the same excuses.
        “I didn’t know my fake internet degree wasn’t real” “I’m in a real relationship with the gulible NZ women I’m married” to the judge under oath only for it to be over the minute they’ve got their citizenship and walked out of the courtroom and the gulible women and her child bred specifically to be abandonned and condemned to a life on welfare, while they immediately plan how to get their Indian wife and her family ‘It’s always her family they finance the whole fraud” out here. Virtually every Indian I know got here that way and I personally know hundreds
        I welcome good migration. Sadly NZ only gets immigrants who are not good enough to get into the countries they really want to. Hence we suffer from 2nd and 3rd rate migration. Race, ethnicity or colour aren’t the problem. It’s a quality issue. Immigration should improve a country. This is definately not happening in NZ today.

      • unitenews October 22, 2012 at 11:41 am #

        You say ‘Race, ethnicity or colour aren’t the problem’ but you constantly refer to ethnicity in all your comments.You may have noticed that hundreds of thousands of kiwis have gone to Australia because of better job prospects and wages. In turn there are many workers in countries poorer than New Zealand that would jump at the chance to live and work here. All ‘kiwis’ are here because our ancestors did exactly the same thing hundreds of years ago. Economic migration has been around as long as human civilisation has and will always exist while there are such stark differences in wealth across the world.

        There are many problems with or immigration system, including some you have highlighted. It

          IS NOT

        the fault of the migrant workers. New Zealand sets and enforces the rules and it is New Zealand based companies that are constantly pushing to bring in migrant workers instead. Once they are here they deserve the same treatment as all other workers.

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