The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a total of $77,922 in penalties in court against the former operator of a Perth-based Thai restaurant and its director.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a $64,935 penalty against Corinthian Capital Pty Ltd, which formerly operated ‘Galangal Award Winning Thai Cuisine’ in Mount Hawthorn, and a $12,987 penalty against the company’s sole director, Mr Richard James Trainer.
The penalties were imposed in response to Corinthian Capital failing to comply with three Compliance Notices requiring the back-payment of entitlements to 11 workers employed at the restaurant as waiters, kitchen staff and drivers.
The Court has also ordered Corinthian Capital take the action required by the Compliance Notices, which includes calculating and rectifying the underpayments owed to the workers in full, plus superannuation and interest.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face court-imposed penalties on top of having to back-pay workers.
“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” Ms Parker said.
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”
The FWO investigated after receiving requests for assistance from the affected workers, who were employed at the restaurant for various periods between February and July 2020. Three of the workers were on working holiday visas and three were international students.
A Fair Work Inspector issued Compliance Notices to Corinthian Capital in December 2020 after forming a belief the workers had not been paid entitlements owed under the Restaurant Award 2010, Restaurant Award 2020 and the National Employment Standards.
The inspector formed a belief that five of the casual workers were not paid at all for work performed and that the other six workers had been underpaid entitlements including minimum rates for ordinary hours, annual leave entitlements, casual rates, and penalty rates for weekend and public holiday work.
Judge Nicholas Manousaridis found that the failure to comply with the Compliance Notices was deliberate and that Corinthian Capital and Mr Trainer had not attempted to take any corrective action.
Judge Manousaridis noted the need for general deterrence in the hospitality industry and specific deterrence in light of Corinthian Capital registering four new businesses since April 2021.