Accountants and professional advisers need to be aware of their accountability and responsibilities when it comes to matters relating to unlawful exploitation of young workers by their clients, according to Parke Lawyers.

This follows a recent case of an accounting firm being fined over involvement in a client’s breach of workplace laws.

Parke Lawyers Managing Director Jim Parke, who is also an accredited business law specialist, says it is not a defence for accountants, lawyers or human resources consultants to claim that they are just following a client’s orders.

He says the recent case should send a clear message to accountants and other advisers of risks faced by any party involved in the exploitation of vulnerable workers or in other potential breaches of the Fair Work Act 2009.

In one recent case, a Sydney-based accountant was fined $4,608 for his role in a sushi store’s unlawful exploitation of young workers.

The court also fined the restaurant operator $161,760 over an unlawful internship program at the sushi outlet on the New South Wales South Coast while the store manager and part-owner was fined $32,352.

The Fair Work Ombudsman brought action against the accountant for his involvement in p