Grocery store operator in court

20 December 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the former operator of a grocery store in the Melbourne CBD for allegedly underpaying a migrant worker more than $8000.

Facing court is Jenny Global Pty Ltd, which formerly operated the Dae Bark Mart Asian grocery store on Flinders Street.   

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated after receiving a request for assistance from a South Korean national, on a working holiday visa, who had been employed as a store assistant at the grocery store from January to May 2020. 

Fair Work inspectors allegedly discovered the worker, who spoke limited English, was paid hourly rates of $12 to $16. He was allegedly also provided with sporadic additional cash payments that totalled $60 over the course of his employment.

It is alleged this caused underpayment of the minimum hourly rate, casual loading, overtime pay, evening penalty rates and public holiday penalty rates he was entitled to under the General Retail Industry Award 2010, resulting in a total underpayment of $8,860.19.

It is also alleged the worker was not provided with pay slips.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said employers that allegedly underpay vulnerable migrant workers’ basic entitlements risk facing legal action.

“Employers need to be aware that we treat underpayment of vulnerable migrant workers particularly seriously,” Ms Parker said. 

“All workers have the same rights regardless of nationality or visa status. Any worker concerned about their rights can contact us for free advice and assistance.”
  
The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking penalties. Jenny Global Pty Ltd faces maximum penalties of up to $63,000 per contravention.  

The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a court order for the company to back-pay the worker in full, plus interest.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 3 February 2022.

Fair Work Ombudsman has previously taken legal action in response to underpayments at the Dae Bark Mart Asian grocery store. Jenni International Pty Ltd and former company director-owner Jordan Shan were penalised a total of $121,000 in court in 2020 for underpaying migrant workers at the store as little as $10 per hour.

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

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Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Assistant Director - Media
Mobile: 0411 430 902
ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au