Judge slams ‘brazen’ bid to phoenix translation business
The precarious working conditions faced by interpreters are again highlighted in an article
published in The Australian Financial Review this week.
“The Supreme Court of Victoria ruled on May 11 that Intellicoms, a company that trades under the name Ezispeak in Australia and New Zealand, had been illegally sold to a family member in 2021 - at well under market value.”
The Court’s ruling comes subsequent to the introduction of new anti-phoenixing laws in 2020.
The term ‘phoenixing’ is when a company transfers assets for less than market value or less than the best price reasonably obtainable to avoid the payment of creditors.
CEO of Ezispeak, Rebecca Haynes, sold the business and its assets to a third party, Technologie Fluenti in September 2021, on the same day that the business went into voluntary liquidation. The Court found that this was an attempt to avoid meeting $3.27 million in liabilities – among which may include fees owed to contractor interpreters.
If interpreters had been employees in this circumstance, there are provisions in place to potentially prioritise their entitlements
and access to compensation under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG).
However, because Ezispeak engages interpreters as contractors, they must join the queue with other creditors where they might receive a percentage of what they are owed, provided there are funds available.
At this stage we don’t know if interpreters will receive any monies owed to them.
Despite concerns raised about Ezispeak’s position raised by this union in the latter part of 2021, the business has continued to provide services to both corporate and government clients in Australia and New Zealand.