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Undercover Coffee Club Spies Check On Alleged Wage Theft

Undercover Coffee Club spies check on alleged wage theft

Undercover staff were sent to spy on a Brisbane Coffee Club franchise to check if workers were being paid proper wages.

The Coffee Club Franchising Company took the extraordinary action.

They did it as a result of believing the owners of the store were repeatedly lying to them about alleged wage theft.

The parent company is suing the former owners of the franchise in the Brisbane District Court.

The are claiming $500,000 allegedly owed under a franchise agreement.

Undercover Coffee Club spies uncover ‘ghost’ employees

The CCFC accused the owners of Hamilton Harbour Coffee Club – Qihua Yang and Xiaona Yuan – of underpaying staff.

Additionally, they allege there was a system of “ghost” employees who worked in the cafe but didn’t appear in official employment records.

The cafe closed in December 2018, a year after Coffee Club headquarters claimed Yang and Yuan:

  • provided false rosters and time sheets
  • and back dated other documents,

allegedly to avoid revealing they were ripping off at least three staff.

Additionally, it is alleged the workers received as little as $12 an hour and no overtime.

Furthermore, it is also alleged that superannuation was underpaid.

CCFC claims the former franchise only provided further information of actual hours worked by employees after it revealed that it had sent its own undercover staff to visit the business.

Former owners deny claims and counter-sue

Yang and Yuan, and their company Huabei Pty Ltd, did not admit the claims.

Instead, the accuse the CCFC of allegedly misleading them with claims the business would generate a $200,000 gross profit in the first year.

Huabei alleges the CCFC

  • failed to provide training, support,
  • ongoing assistance
  • and advice on how to run the business

as promised when they bought the franchise.

Consequently, Huabei filed a counter-claim for $468,619 of accumulated losses and a further $457,413 in franchise fees.

No court date for hearing has been set.

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