Caveat emptor (Let the buyer beware)

Published on: 09 October 2014

The relationship between the Candidate, you the Client and the Recruitment Agency. 

A man accused of immigration fraud was misled by the recruitment company he used and did not personally profit from the deal, his lawyer Philip Mitchell, has told the Wellington District Court today.The 65-year-old business owner, who has name suppression, is on trial in the Wellington District Court this week. The man denies seven charges, including supplying false employment agreements, producing false information and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Crown prosecutor Ian Murray said the case revolved around the man getting cheap discounted labour, while the recruitment agency collected large fees from its Clients. Mr Mitchell said the directors of the recruitment company admitted involvement in the scam a week ago.

There was no evidence his client received any money from the recruitment company.

Mr Mitchell said his client was an honest businessman, and he urged the jury to keep an open mind. The Crown will call 13 witnesses, and the trial is expected to last for a week.

This court case clearly shows the importance of having an understandable contract in place with any recruitment agency you use. This should include the basic rules of engagement which covers but are not limited to: contract administration and negotiation, all wage costs and wage related payments, ACC costs, PAYE, duration of the employment, the right to retain the candidate, health and safety supply, induction and safety management to name a few (do not be fooled by the “we take care of that line" from the recruitment provider). This case clearly demonstrates the authorities do not accept this view.

It should also include who holds the liability for any incidents involving fraud, motor accidents, loss of product, theft and who actually manages the employment relationship if things go sour.

Using a recruitment agency should always assist your business legally and there should always be an assurance that there is compliance with the Employment Relations Act and all subsequent employment legislation.  As in all areas of business there are honest reputable organisations that meet all legislative and moral obligations and those that seek to circumvent these for short term personal gain, ending up in court for a week facing serious charges is costly and can be avoided by ensuring you use a reputable recruitment provider that is part of the RCSA (Recruitment and Consulting Services Association).