Former Fremantle restaurant operators face court

27 August 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against the former operator of a restaurant located in Fremantle, Western Australia.

Facing court is Soma Kitchen Pty Ltd, which operated the Soma Kitchen restaurant before it ceased trading. The company’s sole director, Giancarlo Daniele, is also facing court.

The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker who was employed on a full-time basis as front-of-house manager at the restaurant between November 2019 and March 2020.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Soma Kitchen Pty Ltd in March 2021 after forming a belief that the worker had not been paid accrued but untaken annual leave owed under the National Employment Standards upon termination of his employment.

The FWO alleges the company, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to calculate and back-pay the worker’s entitlements. It is alleged Mr Daniele was involved in the contravention.

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.

“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,” Ms Parker said.

The FWO is seeking penalties for the failure to comply with the Compliance Notice contravention. Soma Kitchen Pty Ltd faces a maximum penalty of up to $33,300 and Mr Daniele faces a maximum penalty of up to $6,660.

In addition, the regulator is seeking a court order for Soma Kitchen Pty Ltd to pay compensation to the worker for the amount of the underpayments, plus superannuation and interest.

A directions hearing has been listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Perth on 9 September 2021.

The FWO secured in penalties in Court against Soma Kitchen Pty Ltd and Mr Daniele in September 2020 for failing to comply with a previous Compliance Notice.

Employers and employees can visit 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.

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Media inquiries:

Claire Low, Senior Media Adviser
Mobile: 0418 825 074

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