One of the nation’s largest workplace relationship advisory firms has been fined $3 million for pretending to be affiliated with a government agency.
Employersure Pty Ltd has been fined for making false and misleading representations in online advertising and for two years for misleading clients into thinking it is affiliated with, or is affiliated with, the Fair Work Ombudsman or the Fair Work Commission. I was.
A Commonwealth Court earlier this month upheld the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s penalty appeal against Employsure.
The court tripled the fine originally imposed by the federal court after it ruled that $1 million was not enough to deter other companies from doing similar things in the future. I was.
ACCC chairman Gina Cass-Gottlieb welcomed the higher penalties, saying the company’s “scale and length of time with misleading advertising” justified the increase.
“We have received over 100 complaints about Employsure’s conduct,” she said in a statement.
“We were concerned that Employsure’s advertisements might mislead many small businesses into thinking they were receiving help and advice from government agencies.
“Penalties must be high enough to deter others, so they cannot simply be viewed as an acceptable ‘cost of doing business.
“This decision should serve as a reminder that misrepresenting a business as part of the government is a serious breach of trust and that any such violation of the law has serious consequences.”
From August 2016 to August 2018, ads for Employsure appeared in Google search results. Consumers searched for “fair work ombudsman,” “fair work commission,” and other related terms.
The ads had headlines such as “Fair Work Ombudsman Help – 24/7 Free Employer Advice” and “Fair Work Commission Advice – Free Employer Advice.”
A consumer watchdog launched legal proceedings against Employsure in December 2018, alleging that it misled consumers with these ads.
A federal court dismissed the ACCC’s case in October 2020, but the following August, the federal court unanimously upheld the consumer watchdog’s appeal.
A former federal judge fined him $1 million for that act in November 2021, and the ACCC appealed the fine decision last January.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/employsures-fine-for-misleading-google-ads-tripled-to-3m/news-story/89f6618b2155a57db26badc187177451 Misleading government advertising triples penalties for Employsure