Legal win over employment scam

by 17 Aug 2011
BHP Billiton will continue to outsource its recruitment needs despite details of an employment scam coming to light.
The mining heavyweight undertook legal action through an arm of the United Nations earlier this year against a scam that solicited workers for BHP Billiton without the company’s knowledge.
Revelations of the labour scam come after recent controversy over tactics being used by other Australian resources companies in the fight to secure skilled workers.
It has indeed come to light that cashed-up resources companies are hiring workers on full pay long before they are actually needed to start work on projects, in a bid to avoid a looming skills shortage that is expected to peak in coming years.
The deals have frustrated the Reserve Bank of Australia, and it said the arrangements exacerbate both the skills shortage and the problem of inflationary spending by one sector amid a struggling broader economy.
The BHP scam is a manifestation of problems arising from huge and continuous labour requirements. In legal documents filed to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, European-based scammers contacted potential employees of BHP Billiton and advised them that the company had considered them suitable for employment.
The approaches appeared legitimate to potential employees, and the initial contact was made using the internet domain "" — an address very similar to BHP Billiton's trading name on the London Stock Exchange.
The scammers had no commercial relationship with BHP Billiton, and the company voiced concerns they may have issued “phoney employment contracts” that claim to be on behalf of BHP Billiton.
The scam is thought to have been riding on the coattails of the well-known skills shortages in the resources sector. With most large mining companies, including BHP Billiton, relying on external agencies to source labour, it appears this was an opportunistic scam.
A statement from BHP Billiton said the company believes the scam was an attempt to steal personal information, rather than an attempt to supply labour in a freelance capacity.
A Melbourne based legal firm acting on behalf of BHP said their client had been successful in the case, and it was ruled that BHP had the right to take control of the rogue website.

BHP Billiton has no further plans of legal action, and despite this incident, the mining company will continue to outsource its labour, which numbers 40,000 people across 25 countries.

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