The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against the operator of a Sydney take-away food outlet.
Facing court is Heun Ok Kurosawa, a sole trader operating the ‘Sydney Kimbab Nara’ outlet on George Street, in the Sydney CBD.
The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request from a worker who had been employed as a kitchen assistant at the outlet for about three months last year.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Ms Kurosawa in February 2021 after forming a belief that the worker had been paid low, flat rates for all hours worked, resulting in underpayment of her minimum wage rate, casual loadings and weekend penalty rates under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010.
The worker, from South Korea, was on a 417 working holiday visa.
The FWO alleges Ms Kurosawa, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice which required her to calculate and back-pay the worker’s 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 with the Compliance Notice 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 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 Kurosawa faces a penalty of up to $6,660.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a court order for Ms Kurosawa to take the action the Compliance Notice requires, which includes calculating and rectifying any underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.
A directions hearing has been listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on 6 August 2021.
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.