Brisbane supermarket in court

26 October 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operators of an Asian supermarket in South Bank, in Brisbane’s south.

Facing court are Universal Asian Supermarket Southbnk Pty Ltd and sole director Mr Songbo (Alex) Yang.

The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker employed at the supermarket as a retail assistant on a part-time basis from June 2019 to September 2020.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Universal Asian Supermarket Southbnk in March 2021 after forming a belief the worker had not been paid all entitlements owed under the General Retail Industry Award 2010.

The inspector formed a belief that the employee, who was allegedly paid flat rates of about $12 per hour, was underpaid minimum wages, evening and weekend penalties, overtime rates and public holiday pay, and was not paid out their accrued but untaken annual leave on termination of their employment.

The FWO alleges that the company, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notices, which required the calculation and back-payment of the worker’s outstanding entitlements. It is alleged Mr Yang 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 Universal Asian Supermarket Southbnk Pty Ltd and Mr Yang. The company faces a penalty of up to $33,300, while Mr Yang faces a penalty of up to $6,660.

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

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Brisbane on 1 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:

Ryan Pedler, Assistant Director - Media
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