A Perth restaurant has been penalised $21,924 after paying a worker just $200 for 146 hours of work
The Federal Circuit Court said the operators showed a “complete disregard for their legal obligations” when it ignored a Notice to back-pay the worker.
Perth restaurant penalised
The Fair Work Ombudsman commenced an investigation into Soma Kitchen in Freemantle following a complaint about wage theft from the worker.
Soma Kitchen Pty Ltd and its director, Giancarlo Daniele, operate the restaurant.
The worker told Fair Work Daniele paid him just $200 for 146 hours of work.
As a result, an inspector issued Daniele and Soma Kitchen with a Compliance Notice directing them to calculate and back-pay the unpaid wages.
However, when the inspector subsequently followed up the Notice, Daniele said:
“It is sitting on my desk to action. I might do it today.”
Complete disregard for legal obligations
Following Daniele’s failure to comply with the Notice, Fair Work commenced court action.
Judge Christopher Kendall said Daniele and his company had shown a “complete disregard for their legal obligations”.
He also noted they had shown “no contrition, taken no corrective action and have demonstrated a lack of cooperation throughout the entire period in which the (FWO) has been engaging with them”.
Consequently, the Court penalised Soma Kitchen Pty Ltd $18,270 and Daniele $3,654.
The Court also ordered Soma Kitchen to comply with the Compliance Notice, requiring it to back-pay the worker’s entitlements, plus interest.
“FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN DEFENDS USE OF COMPLIANCE NOTICES”
Compliance Notices not optional
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan says Compliance Notices are not optional.
“Compliance Notices are a chance to fix an underpayment without any additional financial penalty,” he said.
“Employers who ignore them will find themselves facing hefty court-ordered penalties, in addition to having to back-pay their workers.”
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker confirmed the workplace watchdog will prosecute businesses that fail to act on Compliance Notices.
“We make every effort to secure voluntary compliance with Compliance Notices but where they are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements.”
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