A joint investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection last year has resulted in restaurant owner Ye Shao and accountant Yizhu “Jessica” Ding being charged for allegedly underpaying employees.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against Mr Shao, who runs Tina’s Noodle Kitchen in Box Hill and Dainty Sichuan in the Melbourne CBD under his two companies; Nine Dragons Pty Ltd and Wynn Sichuan Pty Ltd.
Ms Ding, who is the companies’ in-house accountant, has also been charged for allegedly being an accessory to underpayment and record keeping contraventions.
When Fair Work Ombudsman inspectors and Department of Immigration and Border Protection officers made unannounced visits to the restaurants last year, they discovered that a total of 30 employees across the two restaurants had been underpaid a total of $30,995 during the two-week period targeted for audit in June, 2016.
It is alleged employees, mostly overseas workers on working holiday and student visas, were paid flat rates ranging from $10 to $22 an hour, despite some employees working six or seven days a week, and more than 10 hours per day.
Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Mark Scully, said that they decided to commence litigation because of the allegedly blatant underpayment of vulnerable overseas workers.
Mr Shao and Ms Ding face maximum penalties of up to $10,800 per contravention, while Nine Dragons Pty Ltd and Wynn Sichuan Pty Ltd face penalties of up to $54,000 per contravention.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a Court Order requiring the companies to commission a professional external audit of pay practices, and report the results to the Fair Work Ombudsman.