Former bakery operators in court

25 October 2022

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the former operators of a Vietnamese bakery in Melbourne.

Facing court are VUF Investments Pty Ltd, which formerly operated ‘Luke’s Bakery’ in Reservoir, and its sole director, Hoang Long Vu.

The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker who was employed at the business in a front-of-house role, performing customer service duties, between February and July 2021.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to VUF Investments in October 2021 after forming a belief that the worker had not been paid all entitlements owed under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010 and the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

The inspector formed a belief the worker was underpaid minimum wages, overtime rates, Sunday penalty rates and annual leave entitlements.

VUF Investments has partially back-paid the worker approximately $1,200 but it is alleged that more remains owing.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges VUF Investments, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to calculate and back-pay the worker’s entitlements in full. It is alleged Mr Vu 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 are prepared to take appropriate legal action to ensure employees receive their lawful entitlements. A court can order a business to pay penalties on top of having to back-pay workers,” Ms Parker said.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free advice and assistance.”

The FWO is seeking penalties for the alleged failure to comply with the Compliance Notice. VUF Investments faces a penalty of up to $33,300 and Mr Vu faces a penalty of up to $6,660.

The regulator is also seeking an order for VUF Investments to take all remaining action required by the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying the alleged underpayment in full, plus interest and superannuation.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 19 December 2022.

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 and information is available for employees and employers at our fast food, restaurants and cafes webpage.

Note: Luke’s Bakery now has new operators. The Fair Work Ombudsman makes no allegations against the current operators of the business.

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