Restaurant operators in court

7 October 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the former operators of a restaurant in Melbourne.

Facing court are Absolute Thai Melbourne Pty Ltd, which operated a restaurant that traded as Wokks in Carlton, and company director Ronald Nah. The restaurant is no longer trading.

The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker employed at the restaurant as a food and beverage attendant on a casual basis from July 2019 to July 2020.

A Fair Work Inspector issued Compliance Notices to Absolute Thai in September 2020 after forming a belief the worker had not been paid all entitlements owed under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 and the Restaurant Industry Award 2020.

The inspector formed a belief that the worker was underpaid the minimum wage, casual loading, and weekend and public holiday penalty rates.

The FWO alleges Absolute Thai, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notices, which required the calculation and back-payment of the worker’s outstanding entitlements. It’s alleged Mr Nah was involved in the contravention.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws in a proportionate manner during the COVID-19 pandemic and take business operators 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 against Absolute Thai Melbourne Pty Ltd and Mr Nah for allegedly failing to comply with two Compliance Notices.

The company faces a maximum penalty of up to $33,300 per contravention, while Mr Nah faces a maximum penalty of up $6,660 per contravention.

The regulator is also seeking an order for the company to comply with the Compliance Notices, which includes rectifying any underpayments in full, plus interest and superannuation.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 3 November 2021.

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. Small businesses can find targeted resources at the Small Business Showcase.

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Media inquiries:

Claire Low, Senior Media Adviser
Mobile: 0418 825 074

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