Burger bar boss faces further allegations of underpaying staff

by HCA20 Jan 2017

Todd Buzza and his company Rum Runner Trading are facing further allegations of underpaying workers at outlets of his Burger Buzz chain in Melbourne.

The Fair Work Ombudsman had already commenced legal action against Buzza and his company last year.

That was in relation to $7113 allegedly owing to seven former employees who worked at the Brunswick outlet and Buzza’s former Burger Buzz outlet.

The FWO has now commenced a second legal action against Buzza and his company, alleging they short-changed a further five employees who worked at the Brunswick outlet a total of $7513.

Two of the workers were aged just 19 and one was an overseas worker from France who was in Australia on a 417 working holiday visa.

The FWO alleges that one of the workers was paid nothing for work performed, while the other four were not paid their full lawful entitlements.

This allegedly resulted in underpayment of the workers’ minimum hourly rates, late night allowances and penalty rates for weekend and public holiday work.

FWO inspectors investigated after workers lodged requests for assistance.

It is also alleged that Buzza and his company contravened workplace laws by knowingly providing inspectors with false and misleading records.

Workplace laws relating to pay slips, frequency of pay and meal breaks were allegedly also breached.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said it is of concern that Buzza’s business has been the subject of a number of previous underpayment allegations from employees.

The FWO inspectors had formally advised him of minimum pay obligations on at least two occasions in 2014.

“We are concerned that the allegations made by a series of workers suggest a pattern of non-compliant behaviour and a business model based on the exploitation of vulnerable workers,” said Campbell.

Buzza faces maximum penalties ranging from $3600 to $10,800 per contravention and Rum Runner Trading Pty Ltd faces penalties of up to $18,000 to $54,000 per contravention.

The FWO is also seeking Court Orders for Buzza and his company to back-pay the employees in full and an injunction restraining Buzza and his company from underpaying workers in future.

If the injunction is granted, Buzza and his company could face contempt of court proceedings for any further underpayment contraventions that are proven in court. Related stories:

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