A Coffee Club cafÃ© franchisee in Brisbane is facing Court for allegedly requiring an overseas worker to repay $18,000 of his wages by threatening to cancel his 457 skilled worker visa if he refused.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against Brisbane man Saandeep Chokhani, who, with his wife, owns and runs the Coffee Club franchise at the Nundah Village Shopping Centre.
Also facing Court is a company Mr Chokhani and his wife are the directors of, Gaura Nitai Pty Ltd.
The allegedly underpaid worker is an Indian national in his late 20s who was sponsored by Gaura Nitai to work as a cook at the Coffee Club outlet on a 457 skilled worker visa.
It is alleged that the worker was promised an annual salary of $53,900 when he was recruited but was paid significantly less and endured long periods without receiving any wages at all.
It is alleged that after failing to pay the worker any wages for a four-month period from July-to-November 2014 and a one-month period in February-March 2015, Mr Chokhani and Gaura Nitai paid the worker $19,334 by electronic transfer on 22 April 2015.
It is alleged that Mr Chokhani then told the worker to withdraw $18,000 in cash and repay it to him or his 457 visa would be cancelled.
The worker withdrew $18,000 in cash the same day and repaid it to Mr Chokhani.
The worker lodged a request for assistance with the Fair Work Ombudsman only after his employment was terminated without notice in November 2015.
Avoid Big Fines And Expensive Penalties
Employers risk penalties of up to $54,000 for each breach of the Fair Work Act 2009.
Fair Work Inspectors appointed by the Fair Work Ombudsman have the power to enter a workplace at any time during working hours to inspect records and ensure compliance.