A cupcake retailer is facing huge penalties for allegedly ripping off 35 workers by more than $55,000.
Most of the employees are visa holders from countries including South Korea, India and Indonesia.
The company behind the store and its director face potential combined penalties in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for the alleged wage theft.
Melbourne cupcake retailer facing huge penalties
Facing the Federal Circuit Court is Shri Krishna Guru Pty Ltd, which operates three ‘Little Cupcakes’ retail stores in Melbourne, in addition to a baking facility in Armadale.
Company director Shreyansh Dharmesh Shah is also facing court.
The Fair Work Ombudsman uncovered the alleged wage theft during surprise audits of cafes and restaurants in the Degraves Street and Hardware Lane dining strips.
The regulator alleges Shri Krishna Guru underpaid the workers a total of $57,179 and mainly involved failures to pay casual loadings.
Additionally, Fair Work alleges the company failed to pay proper:
- underpaid leave loadings;
- minimum-engagement pay;
- minimum hourly rates; and also
- loadings for weekend, public holiday, evening and also overtime work under the Award.
Underpayments of individual workers ranged from $20.00 to $10,960.
Fair Work also alleges the company breached record-keeping and pay slip laws.
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Young workers vulnerable
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker expressed concern that 10 of the affected workers are juniors under the age of 21.
“Protecting the rights of vulnerable workers in the fast food, restaurant and café sector is a priority for the Fair Work Ombudsman.
“We will continue to enforce workplace laws in a proportionate manner during the COVID-19 pandemic, and hold employers to account in order to protect employees.”
Shri Krishna Guru faces maximum penalties of $63,000 per contravention.
Additionally, Shah faces maximum penalties of $12,600 per contravention.
The Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne has a directions hearing listed for July 31.
Meanwhile, the company has subsequently rectified the alleged underpayments in full.
UPDATE TO STORY
The Federal Circuit Court penalised Shreyansh Dharmesh Shah and his company $58,316 for the wage theft.
Judge Karl Blake described the underpayments as “deliberate, sustained, serious breaches” which affected employees who are vulnerable to exploitation.
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