The former director of a contract catering company has been penalised $50,000 for exploiting function centre workers.
The employer admitted underpaying eight employees a total of $24,139 between July 2013 and April 2014.
Catering company penalised for exploiting workers
A to Z Catering Solutions had a contract to run the restaurant in the Rules Club in Wagga Wagga in regional New South Wales.
Mohammed Moseem Yasin was sole director and part-owner of the company.
A to Z employed the eight employees to work as cooks and waiters at the Rules Club.
They included a teenager, aged 17, and three aged in their early 20s.
Most of the wage theft happened when Yasin paid the casual employees paid flat rates of $20 an hour and $10 an hour.
The flat rates did not cover the minimum hourly rates and weekend penalty rates as outlined in the relevant Award.
Yasin should have paid the workers up to $39 an hour for some hours worked.
Yasin also failed to pay superannuation, annual leave and clothing entitlements.
He also failed to provide staff with Fair Work Information Statements and pay slips.
Finally, he also knowingly provided false records to Fair Work inspectors.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the wage theft happened despite the regulator previously warning him about workplace laws.
“It is unacceptable that Mr Yasin underpaid workers despite being aware of his obligation to pay minimum Award rates of pay.
“We are clearly prepared to take action against individual directors for their involvement in underpaying workers and will use all provisions of the Fair Work Act to hold individuals to account.”
What the court said
Judge Nicholas Manousaridis found Yasin had been involved in “systematically and regularly” failing to provide employees with their minimum pay rates.
He said: “Mr Yasin was aware of the Award, its coverage and its basic terms” but that “he had no intention of acquainting himself with the terms of any award that might have applied”.
What the experts say
Miles Heffernan, Director of Litigation at IR Claims, once again renewed his call to criminalise wage theft.
“If a worker steals from their boss, they are charged with stealing as a servant, and face criminal penalties,” he said.
“Yet employers who steal from their workers face no such similar action.
“It’s an unfair playing field, and it makes it all too easy for dodgy bosses to steal from their workers.
“Until we see criminal penalties introduced for wage theft, then it’s going to keep happening.”
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