A Chinese restaurant in Tasmania has been penalised $14,500 for ignoring a Compliance Notice.
The Notice required the restaurant owners to calculate underpayments and then back-pay five workers.
Chinese restaurant penalised for ignoring Compliance Notice
Galb Pty Ltd operates the Jade Will Chinese Restaurant at Ulverstone.
The Federal Circuit Court penalised the company $12,000, and its sole director Chao Liang an additional $2,500.
Fair Work inspectors commenced an investigation into the restaurant in 2018 as a result of receiving a complaint from an employee.
The inspectors believed Liang failed to pay the five waiters proper:
- minimum wage rates;
- weekend and also public holiday penalty rates;
- casual loadings;
- late night additional payments; and also
- minimum two-hour shift pay.
As a result, the waiters received flat rates of between $8 and $14 an hour.
Inspectors subsequently issued the Compliance Notice requiring Liang to calculate the underpayments and repay the workers in full.
However, he failed to do so.
Liang only paid back the workers after Fair Work commenced legal action.
Judge Grant Riethmuller noted that “a subsequent underpayment discovered in November 2019 suggests little has changed, despite the respondents saying that systems are now in place to ensure compliance”.
Judge Riethmuller also said it is “unfortunate” that it takes legal action to rectify wage theft.
Furthermore, he said there is a need to deter others from similar conduct.
“It is important that Compliance Notices are taken seriously by employers and not ignored.”
“FAIR WORK CONTINUES COMPLIANCE NOTICE CRACKDOWN”
Ignoring Compliance Notices ‘not an option’
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Fair Work Claims says ignoring Compliance Notices is not an option.
“Compliance Notices are a chance to rectify an underpayment without copping a financial penalty,” he said.
“Ignoring them won’t make them go away – it will only result in employers having to back-pay their workers, in addition to paying a penalty.”
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said her agency will not hesitate to take legal action against recalcitrant employers.
“We make every effort to secure voluntary compliance with Compliance Notices but where they are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements.”