Friday, 23 February 2018 12:14

Fair Work Web report tool results in deluge of complaints

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The Fair Work Ombudsman says the provision of a website where complaints about illegal practices in workplaces can be lodged anonymously and in a number of languages has led to about 20,000 complaints being received in a year-and-a-half.

The FWO said in a statement that the Anonymous Report tool was launched in mid-2016 and since then the deluge of reports received were leading to positive outcomes for vulnerable workers.

However a spokesperson for the FWO said there was no plan as yet to offer mobile apps for making complaints.

Ombudsman Natalie James said information received from the public also provided valuable intelligence which helped design future compliance activities.

“The reports we receive enable us to identify trends and generate leads for our inspectors to follow up,” she said.

“This assists us to focus our priorities and direct our resources to those areas where we will have the greatest impact.

“For example, the hospitality industry accounts for 17% of our formal requests for assistance. However, it accounts for 36% of anonymous tipoffs."

James said it was also known that most people who used the tool provided information about their current employment.

“We always urge employees to come forward if they have concerns in the workplace, but we appreciate that it can be a hard thing to do. With our Anonymous Report tool, workers can come to us and tell us what is happening now without the risk of being identified,” she said.

About 800 reports have been received in languages other than English, with Chinese and Korean the most common.

“These numbers show my agency’s increasing reach into sections of the community that we may not have heard from in the past,” James said.

“It is fantastic that the community has embraced our Anonymous Report tool and is helping us by letting us know when they see or suspect something that isn’t right.”


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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