Jun 11, 2014

Melbourne man fined 335000 for underpaying staff

Melbourne man fined 335000 for underpaying staff. A Melbourne restaurateur has been fined almost $335,000 for underpaying more than 100 workers and instead offering them discounted pizza and soft drink.

The workers, many of them teenagers and one as young as 13, were employed part-time or as casuals at two La Porchetta restaurants from 2009 to 2012.

Judge John O'Sullivan imposed the fines in a ruling handed down in the Federal Circuit Court on June 6, the Fair Work Ombudsman said on Tuesday.

He said the practice of offering discounted food and drink instead of meeting minimum pay requirements “belongs in the dark ages” and workers were underpaid a total of $258,000.

“Ensuring compliance with minimum standards is an important consideration in this case,” Judge O'Sullivan said.

Restaurateur Ruby Chand, from Tecoma, was handed a personal fine of $55,803 and also two fines of $139,507.50 for each franchisee company attached to his Pakenham and Berwick restaurants.

Mr Chand must also pay the workers the entire underpaid amount, of which there is still $79,000 outstanding, the Fair Work Ombudsman said.