The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operators of a café in Melbourne’s south-east.
Facing court are KRC Pty Ltd, which operates The Colonel’s Son in Black Rock, and café manager Rishi Chaudhari.
The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from a worker KRC employed as a full-time cook at the café between February 2021 and February 2022.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to the company in August 2023 after forming a belief the worker was not paid her accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements when her employment ended, owed under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.
The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges KRC, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to calculate and back-pay the worker’s entitlements.
It is alleged Mr Chaudhari was involved in the contravention.
Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth 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,” Ms Booth said.
“Employers also need to be aware that taking action to improve compliance in the fast food, restaurant and café sectors are among our top priorities. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance.”
The FWO is seeking penalties in court for the alleged failure to comply with the Compliance Notice. KRC Pty Ltd faces a penalty of up to $46,950 and Mr Chaudhari faces a penalty of up to $9,390.
The regulator is also seeking orders for the company to rectify the alleged underpayment in full, plus interest.
A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 30 January 2024.