Yet another Australian tech company has entered liquidation, allegedly leaving employees with significant amounts of unpaid wages.
The Sydney-based company FirmGuard Pty Ltd, which provided governance, risk and compliance services, went into liquidation on 1 August.
According to ex-general manager, Andrew Tierney, the company collapsed while owing large sums of money in the form of unpaid wages and remuneration to numerous staff.
Tierney told Information Age he'd had payment issues with FirmGuard for a long time, but in April 2022, things had taken a turn for the worse.
"I never received wages on time," said Tierney, "Most were paid between two to four weeks late between 1 July 2021 (my start date) and 31 April 2022."
"The payments started reducing in amount and extending in time from then on."
Tierney claims he is currently "owed in the vicinity of $149,804.88" in unpaid remuneration, super guarantee, leave, investment and more.
Tierney said he tried to work out a solution to the companies' payment problems during his employment, going so far as to offer he'd "find other employment and work on this after hours or weekends at a reduced pay" so the company could find their financial footing again.
"Then when contracts and income were able to support me, I would come back full time. He (the company CEO) did not want to do this and said he can continue to pay me, and that he will pay on time – this never eventuated," he concluded.
At one stage, Tierney allegedly received a highly unusual text message from the company CEO, Dan Usher, offering $1,000 from his personal savings while the outstanding payment issues were being resolved – however, these funds never arrived in Tierney's bank statement.
"This is when I started to lose complete trust and started to panic.
“I felt a little trapped as he owed me so much money, including investing in the company.
“If I left, then I felt I had no hope of seeing any money."
Tierney further stated that his last few months working with FirmGuard were particularly difficult, during which he was using his personal savings to pay for living expenses.
"My savings dwindled to nothing over a 3-month span. During that time, it came to my attention that Dan owed other people money as well."
The stress of his unstable wages left Tierney with unexpected health complications, and in late June he was taken to hospital via ambulance with fears of suffering a heart attack.
"I started to get the calls from other people advising that he owed them money, then I started to panic and ended up in hospital late June."
Doctors concluded Tierney was experiencing a panic attack due to ongoing stress, and subsequently placed him on a mental health plan.
Eventually, Tierney sent a letter to the advisory board and investors in the company, informing them that he was owed a significant amount of money by FirmGuard.
The response? Tierney was reportedly terminated from his position as general manager and FirmGuard subsequently entered liquidation three days later, meaning the Fair Work Ombudsman would no longer be able to assist with outstanding wages.
"It was really shocking as I felt that it was more as a payback by Dan rather than anything else."
Tierney said he is currently claiming against the Fair Entitlements Grant in hopes of receiving his allegedly owed payments.