A trendy Brisbane sushi outlet has copped a huge $355,000 penalty for ripping off its workers and falsifying documents.
The penalty is the second highest imposed in a Queensland wage theft case and one of the highest nationally.
Trendy Brisbane sushi outlet cops huge penalty
Moga Izakaya & Sushi is a popular sushi bar and restaurant located in Rosalie Village in Paddington in Brisbane.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court penalised the outlet’s operator, Delishesco Pty Ltd, $305,000.
The court also penalised the company’s sole director and majority shareholder, Yinan “Stanley” Yang who manages the restaurant, an additional $50,000.
The wage theft
The court found that Delishesco deliberately underpaid 34 employees a total of $75,716 between December 2018 and March 2019.
It then knowingly provided Fair Work inspectors with false records in an attempt to cover up the wage theft.
Most of the affected employees worked as wait staff, cooks, kitchenhands and also dishwashers.
They were Chinese, Japanese, Korean in addition to Thai visa holders.
Fair Work commenced an investigation as a result of a wage theft complaint from a worker, who said the outlet paid him just $16 an hour.
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Deliberate and systematic underpayment of vulnerable workers
Meanwhile, Judge Salvatore Vasta was scathing in his judgment.
He found Yang and his company engaged in deliberate and systematic underpayment of vulnerable workers.
He therefore said there was a need to impose penalties to deter others from such conduct.
“In this case, the aspect of deterrence looms large. In fact, it might seem that it overshadows almost everything else,” he said.
Judge Vasta also noted the severity and seriousness of the conduct.
“Most of these employees are workers on visas who are apt to being exploited because of their unfamiliarity with the English language and Australian industrial law.”
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