We received yet another gut-wrenching story and plea for help and support overnight from an injured worker, who sustained a brain injury after a car accident, and who has been abused in unimaginable ways by an employment agency, preying on disability subsidies. This man, and his carer are not only disillusioned with our society, but they are utterly desperate for help, support and advice.
Abused human rights & disability discrimination – urgent support needed
The injured worker’s story in his own words
[Some text has been amended for easier reading and ID protection]
I need help urgently with this complicated issue.
Myself and my carer went to my local disability employment service provider [date] and asked if there were any loans/grants available for us to start up a new business, which I had previously run [for a couple of years]. [Following which]I then had a car accident. I resumed my business [after the accident] for [1 year] and then stopped on doctors (and family) advice.
In [year] I moved to to a new rural town with my full time carer. We enjoyed our new life and I was looking forward to getting back to work and regain self-esteem and participate in our new community.
My local disability employment service provider sent us to a local business enterprise centre because she [it – “X”] was excellent in grants/loans available.
We [my carer and I] went to an appointment [with “X” ] and asked her if there were any grants/loans available. We had told her what type of business we had in mind. She automatically said no, but [said I have] she has got another client who who wants to start up exactly the same business – “would you like to match-make with her”? [she asked]. I had the [knowledge] but no money, and her client had the money but no knowledge of this business.
We came home and talked about this option; the pros and cons. After a couple of days we agreed – with some guarantees form our side that we needed to discuss [this] with [“X”] client.
We first [discussed] that my carer [would] have to be involved as she is my driver as well as my full time carer – we come as a team. We also need a work vehicle as we need to travel 80 km to work. The “X” lady asked if I was entitled to wage subsidy and I told her that would look into it for us. As it turned out I was entitled to wage subsidy, but I was not registered with an employment service provider.
They soon got me signed up and and assessment was [undertaken] to see how many hours I could [work] per week [between 8 and 10 was the assessment via Centrelink].
I was then told that I could get fuel and maintenance for my carer’s car. We thought this too good to be true, and weren’t we right?!
I signed up with the disability employment agency [date] , and some 3 weeks after our discussion they could get a subsidy for “X”. I signed a job placement form which started on [date] and which had no finish date. I was employed as a commercial cleaner. I cleaned one window on [that] my first day. I was then asked to look into truck mounted carpet shampooers and also portable [ones], and also a car or van in order to carry everything.
And wanting to work, and in the long term, full time work for myself and my carer [and needing a company vehicle], I continued on with my assignment. I had spoken to a salesman of carpet shampooers in [town in QLD], and plenty of others, and my final choice was [eventually] the [QLD town] company.
I also [discusse] with “X” company [things]such as tendering, OH&S, quoting, MSDS sheets, staff requirements, employer responsibility, EPA guidelines etc.
I also gave the “X” company a heap of my own previous tax invoices, chemical suppliers and forensic cleaning information.
My business was going uphill up until my car accident. I went back to work for myself but struggled with the day to day running [of the business], i.e organising staff, D, taxes, quoting and extras. But I had previously maintained contracts with Department of Housing [state], lawn maintenance, sub contracted dept housing vacant houses, units cleaning, carpet shampooing, lawns, rubbish removal, Bunnings offices, cleaning toilets, solicitors offices, daycare centres, floor polishing and various other clients. So I had a fair bit of knowledge in all fields.
The ‘X” company client had not thought of a name for her business, so myself and my carer put some names [forward] which she didn’t like much.
[Upon my] recommendation she had purchased the [needed] equipment from the [QLD town] company. The suppliers would get a new Toyota Hiace and a van wrap for advertising. I said that this company can do everything for you and just what you want and within your price range. All you have to do is do a design for advertising and a business name. Get me and you trained and you would be OK.
She got her son [age] to do a design, which, in my opinion was suited to what she wanted to get across to the public.
We sat down to discuss a business name, myself and my carer, and “X” manager and the business owner. She didn’t want her home used because she wanted to incorporate the [central West] as we were told that myself and my carer would, one day, be running an area of this business. She wanted to purchase another carpet cleaning machine within a year.
She finally came up with a name for the [cleaning] business [let’s call it 3star cleaning]. I nearly fainted as my previous business was [something 3star cleaning].
Here I was a little bewildered, we were told that “X” would pay me each week in order to build up hours to go to [QLD town] and get trained in this new [cleaning machine].
It had been organised to go [the training] in the end week of NSW school holidays, so myself and my carer had organised our kids around that.
About 2 weeks before we were going to [the training in QLD town] I received a call from “X” to say that her client [the cleaning company] had spent all her money and wouldn’t be going! So I asked what would happen with these hours that I have been accumulating. X said that when her client returns, that ” I could work them off”. It was all getting very odd.
Mid [month] the client returned and I would start working these hours off. Totally unusual, but I was looking long term.
I had asked, on my first day of employment, for a statement of my duties and a letter of offer from ‘X’ manager. She told me she would do it the following week, yet the letter did not arrive. When I asked for it again, she told me that “once your contract has finished with “X” and you start with her client, then one will be given”. I had been told that the contract was for 3 monts. I had a copy of the contract but I didn’t have the finish date because they didn’t know the end date, because this was to be ongoing.
The day I signed the paperwork, I was rushed because the employment service provider was too busy, which I noted in my diary.
I need a diary for day to day issues as my brain injury was/is all frontal lobe, which [affects] your memory, anger, self control.
Still employed by “X” I looked up subsidies for employing people with disabilities. I found some very interesting points.
I started with the new client of “X” she was outsourcing me. A few weeks went by and I was doing 8 to12 hours per week. My carer was asked if she would like to some work as well, [to which] she agreed with no hesitation. She delivered some flyers for “X’ at $10 per hour. When she finished, the manager says “I haven’t paid you yet, I just take it of “D”‘s hours that he owes me” and my carer had agreed, thinking long term.
The next day was a Saturday and we met at a solicitor’s office which we were carpet cleaning. My carer was asked if she would like to work and she said yes. At the end of the day, the same thing happened; “I’ll just take your hours of what “D” owes ‘X””; but I was not working for “X” but for the new [cleaning] business owner!
I had taken the new [business] owner to meet with my disability employment service provider – he had told her that subsidy was available to her at the end of the month when she signs me up. It was 8/10 hrs PAYE , 9% super and 10% W/C – she was shocked how much this was, and in my case, it was for a period of 18 months with a possible extension of 6 months.
After this meeting we carpet shampooed a local restaurant. After she had finished she had drained all waste down a storm water drain this is a big no no.On Monday [date] myself and my carer were asked to work a customers house which was for sale an had an upcoming open day.We arrived and my carer was told to clean the bathroom and I was asked to clean the windows. I was cleaning the windows and my carer came over to me, I asked her why wasn’t she wearing oay shoes she said that our boss told her to take them off that this how u do it it must be done my way.I couldn’t believe this cleaning a bathroom with no shoes or socks on! I continued working, I stopped to go to the toilet and to make a phone call to my job service provider which I have to do if there is a issue at work. He said to come and see him when we finish because the old contract finishes today and we can talk about safety and anything else I want to talk about. I told my boss that I need to speak to my provider this arvo, she said what about the hours u owe”X” I said yes I know and said about the new contract needs to be signed.
We started shampooing and the machine wasn’t working so she rang up [QLD town company] and tried to explain the problem but she couldn’t understand the salesman so she put me on the phone. I realised what was wrong and had it fixed in five minutes. The new business owner is chinese and the language barrier can be difficult.
Sometimes we finished work at 2pm after starting at 8.30 5. 5hrs without a break. I went and spoke to my employment agency and talked about safety,no break,and has the new contract[ been made]. I was annoyed with my employment provider. They said that I dont owe “X” anything take a couple of days off and that he will raise the problems.
We had been asked to work the following day as we were leaving his office X rang him. We left, late that arvo recieved a msg that new boss will be okay tomorrow.I rang employment provider on [date] and asked what is going on he said to me that he had spoken to X and said that I don’t owe X any hours as it was their mess up and it shouldn’t have been done.
X said to employment provider if “D” (me) is not going to finish the hours that’s it then I have yet been told this in any way I have also found out that X haven’t paid my super and just to cap it all of X is an agent for dept of fair trading.
Also we found out that manager of X and new business owner have known each other for 10years or so.
I went to my doctor because I have been treated so unfairly in various ways; my carer has been used we didn’t think this type of behaviour still existed. My doctor gave me a workcover certificate. The insurance company are not accepting responsibility in the interim-they have got a letter from X that’s how they came to this decision so they only hear one side of the story is this right.
happened to me Fair Work said that you are an employee or consultant can’t be both I outlined my job description and advised me to put in a complaint.