Brisbane fast food outlet in court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against the operator of a fast food outlet in Brisbane’s West End.

Facing court is SMC Food Truck Pty Ltd.

The regulator investigated the outlet as part of audits of 44 fast food, café and restaurant businesses in the West End food precinct between December 2018 and March 2020.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to SMC Food Truck in February this year after forming a belief the company had underpaid casual employees between October 2018 and February 2020.

The inspector believed casual employees had been underpaid their casual, overtime, weekend and public holiday entitlements under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010.

The FWO alleges the company, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice which required it to calculate and back-pay the workers’ entitlements.

In line with the FWO’s proportionate approach to regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FWO made several attempts to secure voluntary compliance before commencing legal action.

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

“Under the Fair Work Act, Compliance Notices are important tools used by inspectors if they form a belief that an employer has breached workplace laws,” Ms Parker said.

“Where employers do not comply with our requests, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order the 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.”

The FWO is seeking a penalty against SMC Food Truck. The regulator is also seeking a court order for the company to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying any underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.

The company faces a maximum penalty of $31,500.

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