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Fighting For Australian Workers Who Have Had Their Wages Stolen By Their Boss
Crust Pizza Outlet Headed To Court Over Underpayments

Crust pizza outlet headed to court over underpayments

A Crust Gourmet Pizza franchisee is facing legal action after allegedly underpaying seven workers a total of $35,725.

Chern Ming “Rick” Lee is facing the Federal Circuit Court and could receive penalties of up to $12,600 for each contravention, and his company Desire Foods Pty Ltd faces penalties of up to $63,000 per contravention.

Allegedly underpaid workers for two and a half workers

Lee is part owner of the Crust outlet at Cheltenham in Melbourne, and is accused of underpaying the employees who worked as pizza makers and delivery drivers between October 2013 and May 2016.

It’s alleged Lee failed to pay minimum ordinary hourly rates, casual loadings, annual leave entitlements, a clothing allowance and penalty rates for night-time, weekend and public holiday work.

The investigation found similar alleged breaches for six other employees with underpayments ranging from $20 and $2,481 between May and August 2017.

Further alleged breaches include failing to pay for meal breaks and failing to pay a transport allowance, failing to engage casual employees for a minimum of 3 hours, and not issuing pay slip.

Mr Lee is also accused of providing false records to Fair Work inspectors.

Fast food industry rife with wage theft

Industrial relations advocate Miles Heffernan from said the fast food industry is rife with wage theft.

“We know that one in two workers in the hospitality and fast food industries is not being paid legally,” he said.

“Four years ago, a discounting war broke out in the pizza industry where the major companies forced their franchisees to sell pizzas at below cost, so it was inevitable that they would not be able to afford to pay their workers proper wages.

“It was a discount war where the only casualties were the poor workers who had their wages stolen.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking court orders for Desire Food to commission an independent audit of its workplace practices, and for its managers to undertake mandatory workplace relations training.

If you have not received your proper wages and entitlements, or are considering legal action to recover stolen wages, we can help.

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