The former owners of a café are facing court after allegedly failing to back-pay four workers.
The Fair Work Ombudsman issued the business with a Compliance Notice ordering it to rectify underpayments totaling $16,004.
Former owners of café ripped off workers
B2D Pty Ltd, and the company’s sole director, Ms Lakshmi Kumar, are facing the Federal Circuit Court.
Lakshmi once ran the Fair Espresso Central Market café-restaurant.
Fair Work investigated the outlet after receiving wage theft complaints from the four workers.
Inspectors found the café failed to pay the workers proper wages and entitlements.
For example, their:
- minimum ordinary hourly rates;
- weekend and public holiday penalty rates;
- casual loadings;
- and meal break entitlements.
The alleged underpayments range from $1,187 and $5,926 for individual workers.
Inspectors issued B2D with a Compliance Notice requiring it to rectify the underpayments, which Fair Work alleges has not happened.
Business allegedly failed to keep proper records
Furthermore, Fair Work alleges B2D and Kumar also failed to keep proper records and issue pay slips.
It’s also alleged that it provided false or misleading records to Fair Work inspectors.
Compliance Notices are not discretionary
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Fair Work Claims says Compliance Notices are not discretionary.
“If you are a business that has not been paying your staff properly, and the regulator issues you with an order to fix the issue, you fix it,” he said.
“If the allegations in this case are proven to be true, then it would appear that this business hasn’t taken the opportunity to rectify the underpayments, so now they are facing court and hefty penalties – a really stupid thing to do.”
Fair Work says it is seeking penalties against B2D and Kumar.
The company faces maximum penalties per breach ranging from$31,500 to $63,000.
Furthermore, Kumar faces maximum penalties per breach ranging from $6,300 to $12,600.
Additionally, Fair Work is seeking an order requiring the company to rectify the underpayments in full, plus interest.
The Federal Circuit Court has listed the matter for a directions hearing next month.
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