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Fair Work Ombudsman Lets Rogue Employer Off The Hook For Wage Theft

Fair Work Ombudsman lets rogue employer off the hook for wage theft

The Fair Work Ombudsman has let a rogue employer off the hook for wage theft.

The decision comes despite the business underpaying three workers almost $75,000.

Fair Work Ombudsman lets rogue employer off the hook

Fair Work offered Ying “Alex” Zhang, and his company Oriental Food Australia Pty Ltd, the chance to enter into an Enforceable Undertaking.

Zhang runs five supermarkets under the Crown Asian Supermarket and Kyoto Mart brands in Melbourne. 

As a result of the Enforceable Undertaking, Zhang avoids court action.

In return, he has committed to back paying his workers, improving his workplace practices and making a donation to a community legal service.

Enforceable Undertakings ‘an absolute joke’

Miles Heffernan, Director of Litigation at IR Claims, criticised the number of Enforceable Undertakings used by Fair Work.

“They are an absolute joke,” he said.

“Instead of hauling these crooks into court to face hefty penalties, the regulator rolls over and offers these cosy agreements,” he said.

“In this case, the employer blatantly ripped off his workers, and the workplace watchdog tells him to pay back what he owes, and he gets off scot-free.

“The regulator’s job is enforcement, however, it does very little enforcing – no wonder wage theft is rife is this country.”

Student visas

Zhang underpaid the three casual workers, all from China on student working holiday visas, between July 2014 and September 2016.

Inspectors found Zhang paid unlawfully low flat hourly rates.

As a result, he failed to pay proper:

  • ordinary hourly rates;
  • weekend and public holiday penalty rates;
  • a clothing allowance; and
  • failed to provide rest and meal breaks.

Fair Work defends Enforceable Undertakings

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said Zhang “narrowly avoided litigation” because he pack-paid the workers in full.

He also agreed to make a donation to the Job Watch Employment Rights Legal Centre.

“Enforceable Undertakings such as this one require major improvements from employers, which creates sustainable compliance improvements that benefit current and future employees.”


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1300 045 466

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