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Italian Restaurant Accused Of Ripping Off 40 Employees

Italian restaurant accused of ripping off 40 employees

The operators of an Italian restaurant are accused of ripping off 40 employees a total of $53,850.  

Facing the Federal Circuit Court are James McBride and his company Domain Botanical Business.

Italian restaurant accused of ripping off 40 employees

McBride runs the Gilson Restaurant in the inner Melbourne suburb of South Yarra.

The Fair Work Ombudsman discovered the alleged underpayments while conducting an audit campaign into the restaurant sector.

Inspectors allege McBride and his company paid casuals unlawful flat rates as low as $18 an hour.

As a result, they failed to pay legal:

  • minimum hourly rates,
  • casual loading,
  • overtime rates and
  • penalty rates for weekend, public holiday, early morning and late night work.

Additionally, Fair Work alleges McBride breached record-keeping laws, including failing to record start and finish times for staff.

Furthermore, the regulator alleges the restaurant did not provide required unpaid meal breaks.

The affected employees worked as kitchen attendants, waiters or cooks.

Many of them are young visa holders and from non-English speaking countries.

Fair Work prioritises migrant workers

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator will continue to enforce workplace laws, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman prioritises enforcement action for matters involving visa holders and young workers, as we know they can be at risk of exploitation due to their visa status, language barriers and a lack of knowledge of workplace laws.”

Aussie workers deserve protection

Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Fair Work Claims says all workers deserve equal assistance from Fair Work.

“Unfortunately, as a result of the regulator’s constant focus on migrant workers, Aussie workers miss out,” he said.

“There are plenty of Aussie workers who are also vulnerable workers, and they are just as deserving of assistance from Fair Work.”


Domain Botanical Business faces maximum penalties of $63,000 per contravention.

Additionally, McBride faces a maximum penalty of $12,600 per contravention.

Furthermore, Fair Work is seeking orders for the company to back-pay all staff, plus interest and superannuation.

The Federal Circuit Court has a directions hearing listed in Melbourne on 17 August 2020.

Please call our specialist team at Fair Work Claims today on

1300 324 748

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Fair Work Claims is part of the Supportah Network.

We are a private consultancy and advocacy firm with no affiliation to any government agency, commission or tribunal.

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