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High tech R&D engineers worked without pay

Editorial
article image Silverbrook is a prolific inventor, but a number of his companies have been plagued with issues relating to the underpayment of staff.

THE Fair Work Ombudsman has filed suit against serial inventor Kia Silverbrook and three of his companies for allegedly underpaying or not paying a number of employees.

Affected staff members included engineers and scientists, with the now-liquidated medical diagnostic device research firm Geneasys owing five of its staff members $362,973.

Solar R&D company Superlattice Solar allegedly underpaid one employee $55,969.

Insiders say that while Silverbrook’s other R&D ventures like Memjet, Precision Mechatronics and Silverbrook Research are not mentioned in the latest action by the Fair Work Ombudsman, similar issues have plagued the engineering and administration staff at those companies.

At Precision Mechatronics, engineers were owed months of pay, superannuation and their redundancy packages, before the company was also liquidated in February 2014.

Silverbrook may be subject to $10,200 maximum penalty per breach, while the companies face up to $51,000 in fines for each employee they have been found to have underpaid.

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