Juice and coffee bar business in court
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a Melbourne-based juice and coffee bar and its director.
Facing court are Rika Foods North Melbourne Pty Ltd, which operates a juice and coffee bar located inside the Sonsa Markets in Collingwood, and company director Mr Radomir Pantovic.
The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker employed at Rika Foods on a casual basis for a short period in January 2021.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Rika Foods in April 2021 after forming a belief the worker was not paid any wages for the work she performed.
It is alleged the employee, who was a visa holder from South Korea, was entitled to have been paid the casual minimum wage under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010.
The FWO alleges Rika Foods, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required the calculation and back-payment the worker’s outstanding entitlements. It’s alleged Mr Pantovic 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 Rika Foods North Melbourne Pty Ltd and Mr Pantovic for the alleged Compliance Notice contravention. The company faces a maximum penalty of up to $33,300, while Mr Pantovic faces a maximum penalty of up $6,660.
The regulator is also seeking an order for the company to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying the underpayment of $1,070.40, 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 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.