The owner of a popular Fremantle restaurant faces penalties totalling more than $30,000 after claims an employee was so badly underpaid his overall pay averaged less than $1.50 per hour.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has begun legal proceedings against the company that operated the restaurant Soma Kitchen Pty Ltd and the company’s director Mr Giancarlo Daniele.
It is alleged the Soma Kitchen employee was paid just $212.50, despite completing about 146 hours of work at the restaurant between May 21 and June 5 this year.
A Fair Work Inspector conducted an investigation into Soma Kitchen after a request for assistance from the employee.
The workplace regulator alleges Soma Kitchen Pty Ltd and Mr Daniele then breached the Fair Work Act by failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring the company to calculate money owed to the employee and ensure he was back-paid.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said businesses that fail to act on Compliance Notices face significant court-imposed fines.
“Under the Fair Work Act, inspectors can issue a compliance notice if they have a reasonable belief that an employer has breached workplace laws,” Ms Parker said.
“We’re taking this action to ensure the affected employee gets the pay and superannuation they earned and deserve.”
Soma Kitchen Pty Ltd faces a maximum penalty of $31,500, while Mr Daniele faces a maximum penalty of $6,300.
The FWO is also seeking a Court Order requiring the company to act on the Compliance Notice by calculating and paying amounts owed to the worker.
Ms Parker said the workplace regulator was cracking down on underpayments in the restaurant industry and urged employers and staff to ensure payments were correct.
The case is listed for a directions hearing on February 13 next year.
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