Bribie Island sushi restaurant operator in court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operator of a sushi restaurant on Bribie Island, just north of Brisbane.

Facing the Federal Circuit and Family Court is SMH Food Pty Ltd, which operates the Shinsen Sushi restaurant.

The regulator investigated after receiving requests for assistance from two workers who were employed full-time at the restaurant between October 2019 and August 2020.

Both workers were 417 working holiday visa-holders from South Korea.

A Fair Work Inspector issued two Compliance Notices to SMH Food in January 2021 after forming a belief the workers had not been paid entitlements owed under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010.

The inspector formed a belief the workers were underpaid minimum rates for ordinary hours, weekend and public holiday penalty rates, overtime rates and annual leave entitlements.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges SMH Food, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notices, which required the company to calculate and back-pay the workers’ outstanding entitlements.

It’s alleged the company also failed to issue pay slips to the employees.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.

“Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers.”

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance,” Ms Hannah said.

In relation to the two alleged Compliance Notice breaches, SMH Food faces maximum penalties of $33,300 per breach. In addition, SMH Food faces maximum penalties of up to $66,600 per breach for the alleged failure to issue pay slips.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a court order for the company to take the action required by the Compliance Notices, including calculating and rectifying any underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.

Employers and employees can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance about their rights and obligations in the workplace. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50. Small businesses can find targeted resources at the Small Business Showcase.

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