Sydney cafe operators in court

23 November 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operators of a Sydney café.

Facing court are The Coffee Traders Group Pty Ltd, which operates a café trading as ‘Coffee Trad3rs’ in Castle Hill, and the company’s sole director Chien Huang Chen.

The FWO commenced an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker employed at the café as a waitress between July 2018 and September 2019, when she was aged 18 to 20 years old. 

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to The Coffee Traders Group Pty Ltd in March 2021 after forming a belief the worker had not been paid all entitlements owed under the Fair Work Act and the Restaurant Industry Award 2010.

The inspector formed a belief the worker was underpaid wages in respect of the minimum period of notice on termination and annual leave entitlements.

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 outstanding entitlements. It is alleged that Mr Chen 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 against The Coffee Traders Group Pty Ltd and Mr Chen. The company faces a maximum penalty of $33,300 and Mr Chen faces a maximum penalty of $6,660.

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

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Sydney on 26 November 2021.

Employers and employees can visit or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50. Small businesses can find targeted resources at the Small Business Showcase.

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Claire Low, Senior Media Adviser
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