Former hotel operator faces court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a former hotel operator in regional New South Wales.

Facing court is David Allan Hamel, who formerly operated the ‘Crossroads Hotel Narrabri’ in Narrabri.

The regulator investigated after receiving requests for assistance from two workers who had been employed on a full-time basis at the hotel for various periods between December 2019 and August 2021. One worker was employed as a cook and the other as a chef.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Mr Hamel in October 2021 after forming a belief the workers had not been paid accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements owed under the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2020 at the end of their employment.

The Fair Work Inspector’s belief, in issuing the Compliance Notice, included that the cook was not paid for 216 hours of accrued entitlements and the chef was not paid for 128 hours of accrued entitlements.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Mr Hamel, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required him to calculate and back-pay the workers’ entitlements.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Mark Scully 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,” Mr Scully said.

The FWO is seeking a penalty against Mr Hamel for allegedly failing to comply with the Compliance Notice. He faces a penalty of up to $6,660.

The regulator is also seeking an order for Mr Hamel to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying the alleged underpayments in full, plus interest.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Sydney on 27 May 2022.

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