The operators of three popular Thai restaurants are facing more than $630,000 in penalties for alleged wage theft.
The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges the employer underpaid vulnerable workers and also provided false records.
Thai restaurants facing penalties for wage theft
Facing the Federal Court is DTF World Square Pty Ltd, which ran the Din Tai Fung restaurants at the World Square shopping centre in Sydney, Chatswood and the Emporium shopping centre in Melbourne.
Also facing court is Selden Farlane Lachlan Investments Pty Ltd, which employed workers at the Emporium store.
Additionally, court action has started against:
- Mr Dendy Harjanto, a former director of both companies,
- Ms Hannah Handoko (also known as Vera Handoko), General Manager,
- Ms Sinthiana Parmenas, HR Coordinator.
The alleged underpayments
Fair Work alleges the two companies underpaid 17 employees a total of $157,025.
The affected employees include cooks, waiters, a dishwasher and also restaurant managers.
Most are visa holders from Indonesia and also China, and are mainly on student or employer-sponsored visas.
It is alleged the companies failed to pay casual and full-time workers lawful:
- minimum rates for ordinary hours,
- penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and evening hours,
- and overtime rates.
It is also alleged the employers failed to pay casual loading entitlements.
Individual underpayments ranged from $2,165 to $50,588.
“QUEENSLAND FOOD OUTLETS PENALISED $86,000 FOR UNDERPAYING YOUNG WORKERS”
Fair Work also alleges the two companies provided inspectors with false records which understated hours worked and false rates of pay.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the Protecting Vulnerable Workers amendments to the Fair Work Act increased penalties for employers who deliberately contravene the law.
“Employers are on notice that the Fair Work Ombudsman is making use of the Protecting Vulnerable Workers amendments to the Fair Work Act to hold to account those who commit serious contraventions.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman prioritises matters involving migrant workers, who we know can be heavily reliant on their employer and also have limited understanding of their workplace rights.”
The two companies each face maximum penalties of $630,000 per serious contravention in addition to $63,000 per other contravention.
Additionally, each individual named as accessories face up to $12,600 per contravention.
The Federal Court has a directions hearing listed on 28 September 2020.
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