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Fighting For Australian Workers Who Have Had Their Wages Stolen By Their Boss
Sushi Operator Penalised $124,000 For Deliberate Underpayments

Sushi operator penalised $124,000 for deliberate underpayments

A Sushi store operator has been penalised a whopping $124,416 for deliberately underpaying migrant workers.

The wage theft happened despite the Fair Work Ombudsman previously warning the employer about paying proper wages and entitlements.

Sushi operator penalised for underpayments

Rebecca Yi Jeong Shin owns and operates ‘Sushi Bay Belconnen’ in Canberra.

The Federal Circuit Court penalised her $20,736, and her company Sushi Bay ACT a further $103,680.

Sushi operator penalised for underpayments

Shin admitted to ripping off 22 workers a total of $18,671 between November 2015 and March 2016.

Inspectors found that she failed to pay legal minimum weekday rates, casual loadings and penalty rates for weekend and public holiday work.

She underpaid the employees, Korean nationals on working holiday and student visas, amounts ranging from $103 to $1,992.

Shin also failed to pay proper leave entitlements in addition to failing to keep proper records.

Fair Work’s previous warning

Fair Work had previously warned Shin to pay proper wages and entitlements, following earlier wage theft complaints.

In May 2015, the regulator formally cautioned that enforcement action would follow any future contraventions of workplace laws.

Despite this, inspectors discovered that she continued to steal from her workers when they audited more than 40 sushi outlets across Canberra, South-East Queensland, and various regions in NSW.

Sushi operator penalised for deliberate wage theft

Judge Brana Obradovic found that the wage theft involved deliberate conduct that included the underpayment of “basic and fundamental entitlement[s]”.

“The Court finds that the contravening conduct was deliberate in light of [Ms Shin’s] admitted knowledge, prior audits, history of employee complaints and the education provided by the Fair Work Ombudsman.”

Judge Obradovic subsequently ordered Shin commission an external audit to find and rectify any further underpayments.

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“Cheap sushi comes at a cost – most outlets ripping off workers”

Repeat offenders deserve jail time

Meanwhile, industrial advocate Miles Heffernan said repeat offenders like Ms Shin deserve jail time.

“This is yet another case that proves current penalties for wage theft are not enough of a deterrent for dodgy bosses,” he said.

“Wage theft should be a crime – just like all other forms of theft.”

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