Rubbed the wrong way: Massage parlour operators threatened with jail time over evidence at Fair Work Commission

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has warned two massage parlour operators they could face up to a year in jail for allegedly giving false or misleading evidence.

Deputy President John Kovacic found the operators had not only unfairly dismissed two employees, but may also have sought to influence each other to provide corresponding versions of events.

This was based on evidence given by the pair in response to questioning which contradicted their own previous statements. The Deputy President referred to section 678 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Act) which makes it an offence for a witness to give false or misleading evidence in a matter before the FWC.

In addition to the more than $37,000 in compensation the operators will be required to pay as a result of the unfair dismissal decision, the employers have been referred to the General Manager of the FWC for their alleged misleading and deceptive conduct.

The General Manager will determine whether the Australian Federal Police should be asked to investigate the matter.

Although the final outcome of the referral remains uncertain for the time being, these developments serve as a reminder of the serious nature of proceedings before the FWC for employers and employees alike.

This article was written by Stella Gehrckens, Lawyer – Employment, Safety and Migration.