Former Thai Restaurant Caught Out

Oct 8th, 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has recently taken legal action against the former operators of a Thai restaurant based in Perth that is no longer currently trading, and their company director.

An FWO Inspector began an investigation when they received requests for assistance from workers that had been engaged at the restaurant between February and July, 2020. After their investigation, they formed the belief that 11 employees had not been paid certain minimum entitlements under the Restaurant Award 2010, the Restaurant Award 2020, and the National Employment Standards (NES).

As such, the Fair Work Inspector issued Compliance Notices to the former operators.

Six of the underpaid workers were visa holders: three held working holiday visas and the other three were international students.

Ten of the workers were casual employees, while the other was engaged as a full-time employee. It is alleged that five of the casual employees were not paid at all for the work they performed, and the remaining did not receive various minimum entitlements such as minimum rates of pay for their ordinary hours, casual loading or weekend and public holiday rates.

Furthermore, the full-time employee did not receive payment for their remaining accrued leave upon termination of employment, which they are entitled to receive as per the NES.

The FWO is now seeking penalties against the former operators for failing to comply with the Compliance Notices, as well as the company director. These penalties amount to a maximum of $33,000 for a company failing to comply with the Notice, and a maximum of $6, 600 for an individual failing to comply.

They failed to comply with the Compliance Notices which directed that they calculate the backpay owed to these 11 workers, and the former company director was involved with this failure to comply.

In addition to penalties for these contraventions, the FWO is after a court order for the company to act on these Compliance Notices. This means rectifying the underpayments that are alleged to have occurred and this also includes the interest and superannuation the former workers are owed.

This case will next appear in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in late November.

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