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Fighting For Australian Workers Who Have Had Their Wages Stolen By Their Boss
Meatball And Wine Bar Penalised $31,320 For Stealing From Workers

Meatball and Wine Bar penalised $31,320 for stealing from workers

Three Meatball and Wine Bar outlets located in Melbourne have been penalised $31,320 for stealing wages from its workers.

The restaurants admitted underpaying 26 workers a total of $14,149 over three months in 2016.

The Federal Circuit Court also found the company failed to keep proper employee records.

Workers paid flat rates

The affected employees worked at Meatball and Wine Bar outlets located in Richmond, Collingwood and the Melbourne CBD.

The restaurants paid the waiters and kitchen hands illegal flat rates of between $17.31 and $21.69 an hour.

They missed out on on loadings and penalties for night, weekend and public holiday work as a result.

The employees included 11 visa holders on student or working holiday visas.

The Federal Circuit Court imposed penalties of $31,320 against Meatball and Wine Bar Pty Ltd – the operators of the restaurants.

Wage theft discovered during audits

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said an inspector discovered the wage theft after initially auditing the Richmond restaurant as part of a compliance campaign targeting popular food precincts in 2016.

“Employers must ensure they comply with their lawful obligation to pay employees the minimum pay rates they are entitled to as Fair Work inspectors may arrive to check records anytime,” she said.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman will continue to target industries where we are concerned about the underpayment of overseas workers, as they can be particularly vulnerable and reluctant to request our assistance.”

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Wage theft rampant in hospitality

Meanwhile, industrial advocate Miles Heffernan said wage theft is rampant in the hospitality industry.

“Every time Fair Work conducts an audit of restaurants or cafes, no matter where, they always find that more than half of businesses breaking workplace laws,” he said.

“It is too easy for bosses to get away with stealing their workers’ wages – which is why we want governments to make wage theft a criminal offence.”

Meatball and Wine Bar Pty Ltd has subsequently back-paid the workers in full.

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