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Fighting For Australian Workers Who Have Had Their Wages Stolen By Their Boss
Gold Coast Café Facing Court Action After Failing To Back Pay Workers

Gold Coast café facing court action after failing to back pay workers

The operator of a Gold Coast café is facing court after allegedly failing to back-pay workers.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking court-ordered penalties in addition to an order that the employees are back paid in full.

Gold Coast Café investigated after complaints

Natasha Doumani and her company, Sun Sea Equity, operated the ‘3 Beans’ café on the Gold Coast.

She lives in her parent’s $5.5 million mansion at Broadbeach Waters.

Fair Work commenced an investigation earlier this year as a result of wage theft complaints from two casual employees.

Inspectors subsequently accused the company of underpaying minimum wages for:

  • ordinary hours;
  • casual loading;
  • overtime;
  • weekend and public holiday penalty rates; in addition to 
  • late night and early morning shift payments.

The alleged wage theft totalled $30,000.

Fair Work alleges that Doumani later failed to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring her to calculate and back pay alleged underpayments.

Compliance Notices not discretionary

Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from WAGETHEFT.net.au said Compliance Notices are not discretionary.

“Fair Work gave this employer the chance to rectify the underpayments to avoid court action, but she chose not to comply,” he said.

“If this proves to be true, then it is incredibly stupid because she is now facing expensive court action and likely penalties.

“There is no excuse for not paying proper wages and entitlements.”

Penalties

As a result of the breaches, Sun Sea Equity is facing maximum penalties of $31,500 for each breach, and Doumani a maximum penalty of $6,300 for each breach.

Additionally, Fair Work is seeking a court order requiring the company to rectify the underpayments, plus superannuation and interest.

The Federal Circuit Court has a directions hearing listed for March next year.


UPDATE TO STORY

In May 2021, the Federal Circuit Court penalised Natasha Doumani $19,000 for wage theft.

Judge Michael Jarrett said it is important to impose a penalty to deter others from similar conduct.

“Fixing a penalty in this case requires the Court to ensure that the relevant compliance notice regime established by the Fair Work Act is met and that the regime is an effective means of ensuring compliance with the Act.

“Employers and others who receive such notices should be under no misapprehension about what is required of them.”


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