Palm Beach cafe operator penalised

25 July 2022

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured court orders for nearly $9,000 in penalties and back-payment against the operator of a cafe located in Palm Beach on the Gold Coast.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a $5,000 penalty against Wildernis Pty Ltd, which operates Wildernis Cafe and Bar.
 
The penalty was imposed in response to Wildernis Pty Ltd failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring it to back-pay entitlements to a worker who had been employed at the cafe as a cook from May 2019 to April 2020.

In addition to the penalty, the Court has ordered the company to pay the worker $3,992.55 in outstanding entitlements owed, plus interest and superannuation. 

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 receive their lawful entitlements,” Ms Parker said.

“Employers also need to be aware that taking action to protect workers in the cafe sector continues to be a priority for the FWO. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”

The FWO commenced an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from the affected worker. The Compliance Notice was issued in February 2021 after an inspector formed a belief that the worker had been underpaid entitlements owed under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 and the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

The inspector formed a belief the worker, while employed as a casual, was not paid the casual minimum wage and weekend penalty rates, and when employed as a full-time employee was underpaid her accrued but unused annual leave entitlements and payment in lieu of notice of termination at the end of her employment. 

The total underpayment amount owed to the worker was $7,985.10. Wildernis Pty Ltd back-paid the worker $3,992.55 in three payments after the FWO commenced legal action. 

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. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Small businesses can find targeted resources at the Small Business Showcase and information is available for employees and employers at our fast food, restaurants and cafes webpage.

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Media inquiries:

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