A bakery worker has been penalised a total of $60,480 for taking advantage of a migrant worker’s vulnerability.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court said it needed set the penalties at a level to provide “an adequate deterrent”.
Bakery operator penalised
The court imposed a $50,400 penalty against Gothic Downs Pty Ltd, which operates Bakers Boutique & Patisserie outlets in Melbourne.
It also penalised the company’s director, Giuseppe Conforto, an additional $10,080.
Mr Conforto and Gothic Downs failed to comply with Compliance Notices requiring them to calculate and also back-pay entitlements to two workers.
The company and Mr Conforto later back-paid the workers a total of $30,107 only after the Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action.
The wage theft
Fair Work commenced an investigation as a result of wage theft complaints made by the two workers.
One worked as a pastry cook and the other as a sales assistant.
Inspectors later issued the Compliance Notices after forming a belief that Gothic Downs had underpaid the workers’ minimum wages, early morning shift rates, weekend and public holiday penalty rates and overtime rates.
NEXT READ Compliance Notices
Meanwhile, Gothic Downs sponsored one of the workers from India on a Temporary Work Skilled visa.
Judge Heather Riley described the worker as “vulnerable” and said Mr Conforto “took advantage of her vulnerability”.
Furthermore, Judge Riley rejected Mr Conforto’s claim that he was confused about how much was owing to the workers.
“To my mind, the respondents’ protestations ring hollow, in circumstances where they did not pay even the minimum amounts that they conceded were owing until long after the compliance notices required rectification,” Judge Riley said.
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