Fair Work inspectors raided a number of bars along Melbourne’s popular Chapel Street after receiving complaints of wage theft.
The bars targeted by the workplace watchdog are all owned by the La La Bar Group.
They include Holy Grail, Electric, Wonderland, Jane Do Bar, Lucky Liquor and also La La Land.
Fair Work inspectors raid Chapel Street bars
Fair Work says it received almost 20 complaints, in addition to six anonymous reports from workers, who claimed the company engaged in wage theft.
For example, failing to pay lawful:
- hourly wages; and
- entitlements such as overtime and penalty rates.
Some workers also alleged they are paid illegally in cash “off the books”.
Inspectors interviewed staff along with management at the bars on Wednesday night.
They also checked documents including staff pay slips, rosters and employment records.
“CLAIMS BY BUSINESS GROUPS THAT WAGE THEFT IS ‘INNOCENT’ ARE NONSENSE”
Ombudsman vows to recover stolen wages
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the audits will uncover any breaches of workplace laws by the La La Bar Group.
“The intelligence we have received about potentially unlawful treatment of staff at the La La Bar Group is concerning which is why we have taken this action.
“If we do uncover breaches, we will work to recover any entitlements owed to staff and also consider what enforcement action is necessary.”
More audits needed
Miles Heffernan, Litigation Director at IR Claims, welcomed the surprise audits.
“We have been greatly encouraged by the increase in proactive activity and enforcement action by the regulator,” he said.
“Fair Work needs to conduct more of these surprise raids when workers complain about underpayments, so greedy bosses don’t get away with stealing wages.”
Fair Work will report on the audit’s findings when it completes its investigation.
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