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News News Defence Force contractor 'tried to force AWAs'
AUSTRALIA'S workplace watchdog will prosecute a major contractor to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for allegedly trying to force two young women to sign Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs).

Workplace Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson today announced he will prosecute Serco Sodexho for trying to force Jessica Sharp, 18, and Kate Sharp, 20, to sign AWAs while they worked as mess stewards at the Australian Defence College in Canberra.

Jessica believed she would be sacked if she did not sign an AWA, the ombudsman alleges.

"This prosecution sends a clear warning to all employers in Australia that regardless of their size they must comply with their worker's rights or face action from the workplace ombudsman,'' Mr Wilson said.

"We take allegations of duress against any worker seriously indeed, especially when the alleged victims are young and vulnerable workers.

"The workplace ombudsman is unwavering in our determination to protect these worker's rights in the courts if necessary.''

The workplace ombudsman's prosecution of the company commences in the Federal Magistrates Court in Sydney on September 20, Mr Wilson said.

If the ombudsman proves the case, Serco Sodexho faces a maximum potential penalty of $33,000 for each breach of workplace law.

The company's website says it employs thousands of people as a "dedicated prime contractor'' to the defence forces.

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