Beauty salon operators penalised

23 November 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured $6,000 in penalties in court against the operators of Bestie House Salon in the Adelaide CBD.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a $3,000 penalty against Ms Yi Yang and a $3,000 penalty against Ms Xurui Zhang, the co-trustees of the Bestie House Trust which operated the business.

The penalty was imposed in response to Ms Yang and Ms Zhang breaching the Fair Work Act by failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring them to calculate entitlements owed to two visa holder employees and back-pay any underpayment.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face court-imposed penalties on top of having to back-pay workers.

“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers – including vulnerable workers such as visa holders, who we prioritise – receive their lawful entitlements,” Ms Parker said.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”

Judge Stewart Brown said in his written judgment, “…penalties must hurt so that others who are considering cutting corners, so far as the payment and protection of their employees are concerned, will be deterred from doing so”. 

“This is particularly important so far as vulnerable employees are concerned, who work in small scale industries, which demand basic entry level skills, such as the hair and beauty industry.” 

“Prompt compliance with [Compliance Notice] terms can result in a win/win situation for all concerned,” Judge Brown said. 

The regulator investigated after receiving requests for assistance from two visa holders from China, who were employed on a casual basis as beauticians at Bestie House Salon.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice in April 2020 after forming a belief that Ms Yang and Ms Zhang had failed to pay the two employees their full wages and entitlements for work performed between September 2018 and June 2019.

The inspector believed that the employees had been underpaid their minimum wages, casual loadings and penalty rates for weekend and public holiday work under the Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010. 

The FWO has an agreement with the Department of Home Affairs, called the Assurance Protocol, where visa holders with work rights can ask for our help without fear of their visa being cancelled. Information and conditions are available at our webpage for visa holder workers. Anonymous reports can be made in English and 16 other languages at www.fairwork.gov.au/tipoff.

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:

Claire Low, Senior Media Adviser
Mobile: 0418 825 074
claire.low@fwo.gov.au