Facing the Federal Circuit Court is the company that formerly owned and operated the business, B2D Pty Ltd, and the company’s sole director, Ms Lakshmi Kumar.
The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that B2D and Ms Kumar breached the Fair Work Act by failing to comply with a compliance notice requiring the company to back-pay $16,004 to four underpaid casual workers.
After receiving requests for assistance from workers, Fair Work Inspectors formed a reasonable belief on the alleged underpayments, and had issued B2D with a compliance notice.
The workers, including one aged just 18–19 at the time, were allegedly individually underpaid between $1,187 and $5,926 for various periods of work between December 2017 and November 2018.
The FWO also alleges B2D and Ms Kumar also breached workplace laws by failing to keep proper records, failing to issue payslips, and providing false or misleading records to a Fair Work Inspector.
The FWO is seeking penalties against B2D and Ms Kumar. The company faces maximum penalties per breach ranging from $31,500 to $63,000, while Ms Kumar faces maximum penalties per breach ranging from $6,300 to $12,600.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said compliance notices are an important tool for inspectors to recover unpaid wages for workers.
“Under the Fair Work Act, Inspectors can issue a compliance notice if they have a reasonable belief that an employer has breached workplace laws. Employers must comply with compliance notices, unless they decide to challenge a notice in court,” Ms Parker said.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman is cracking down on the alleged underpayment of vulnerable workers in the fast food, restaurant and café sector. We will continue to audit businesses suspected of underpaying workers, and utilise our full suite of enforcement tools to hold employers to account.”