A restaurant underpaid two staff members thousands of dollars, the Fair Work Ombudsman says, and allegedly tried to hide the time sheets from an inspector.
A restaurant underpaid two staff members thousands of dollars, the Fair Work Ombudsman says, and allegedly tried to hide the time sheets from an inspector.

CBD restaurant allegedly paid waitresses just $12 an hour

An Adelaide restaurant paid two migrant waitresses just $12 an hour and then tried to stop inspectors viewing time sheets and wage records, the workplace watchdog claims.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched Federal Circuit Court action against CNL Group, which operates Japanese restaurant Gyoza Gyoza, director Yu Bing Li and manager Mingang Du.

It alleges CNL, which operates the Gouger St restaurant under a franchise, underpaid the two employees $10,517.43 between April 2018 and August 2018.

The Fair Work Ombudsman says while most of the money has been repaid, it is seeking the remaining wages and civil penalties against CNL, Mrs Li and Mr Du, who is also the chef.

Inspectors from the Fair Work Ombudsman's office launched an investigation after receiving requests for help from the two Japanese waitresses, who were on working visas.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges CNL paid the employees rates as low as $12 an hour and that Mrs Li and Mr Du failed to pay weekend penalties and loading for work after 10pm.

It alleges Mrs Li intentionally hindered and obstructed inspectors by physically blocking an inspector from viewing time and wage records during a site visit last year

Mrs Li is then alleged to have removed the wage records from the premises, provided false sheets to inspectors and failed to comply with a notice to produce.

CNL is alleged to have provided false and misleading pay records to inspectors, failed to comply with a notice to produce and failed to provide pay slips in breach of the Fair Work Act.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker encouraged migrant workers to report any concerns.

"The alleged conduct affected visa holders, who can be particularly susceptible to workplace exploitation as they can be scared of losing their jobs and visas or are not familiar with Australia's workplace rules," Ms Parker said.

"Visa holders have the same workplace rights as any other worker. This action should serve as a warning to all businesses that our inspectors must be allowed to carry out their important duties to help protect employees and the system."

If convicted, CNL faces a maximum penalty of $63,000 a breach, while Mrs Li and Mr Du face up to $12,600 for each breach.

The case will be heard in the Federal Circuit Court in Adelaide next month.


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