Fair Work Ombudsman takes aim at advice firm over claims of misleading employer clients

Emma Koehn /

The Fair Work Ombudsman has taken aim at a workplace advice firm, alleging customers have complained about being misled into believing it was associated with the ombudsman’s office.

The ombudsman revealed on Tuesday it had received complaints from members of the public about Employsure Pty Ltd, which operates a telephone advice service relating to Australian workplace issues for business owners through the website

“The Fair Work Ombudsman is not affiliated with any commercial providers of advisory or workplace relations service nor do we provide endorsements of any such providers,” the ombudsman’s office said in a statement.

The concerns center on idea that individuals in need of workplace law advice may be misled into believing the ombudsman’s office has a relationship with private businesses. The Fair Work Ombudsman says is not connected with any commercial services and instead provides advice on minimum pay rates, entitlements and awards to business owners and workers free of charge.

“If any business engages in conduct that misleads consumers about a connection or affiliation with the FWO, the FWO considers it a serious issue,” the office said yesterday, highlighting that the Commonwealth is owner of registered trademarks and legal action could be taken to assert these rights.

The website for the Employsure Fair Work helpline says it offers 24/7 advice to businesses on the Fair Work Act and Australian workplace law.

“Employsure is not affiliated with or connected to the Fair Work Ombudsman, Fair Work Commission or any government agency,” the organisation’s home page states.

Speaking to Fairfax, Employsure’s managing director Edward Mallet said the company has seen no evidence of complaints the ombudsman is alleging, and says he believed the concerns raised had already been resolved after engaging with the ombudsman’s legal team.

Employsure director Stephen Hoyle tells SmartCompany that when the has spoken to the ombudsman’s office in the past, he has found these conversations to be “amicable”.

“Employsure is a private organisation that provides workplace relations services and advice to employers. There is a clear distinction between our offering and that of any government agency and we emphasise this difference in clearly identifying as Employsure across all our platforms,” Hoyle says.

The business says it welcomes ”dialogue” with the ombudsman’s office and is happy to engage with it regarding any consumer complaints raised.

In a statement yesterday, the Fair Work Ombudsman drove home the message that it is not affiliated with any third parties, and urged businesses and individuals who are contacted by any business claiming to be affiliated with its office to report this via phone or the office’s website.

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is a former senior SmartCompany journalist.