Bubble tea operator in Adelaide to face court for underpaying staff

The operator reportedly underpaid 20 staff members

Bubble tea operator in Adelaide to face court for underpaying staff

The operator of three bubble tea outlets in Adelaide will be facing the courts after they were accused of underpaying staff over $186,000.

The Fair Work Ombudsman said in a media release that they’d began legal action against Yuxuan Group Pty Ltd - taking legal steps against a former director for allegedly being involved in record-keeping and payslip breaches.

The move comes after Fair Work Inspectors found that 20 workers of Fun Tea were allegedly paid as little as $10 per hour. They were also reportedly underpaid penalty rates for evenings, weekends, holidays, and overtime work. The Ombudsman further claimed that the underpaid staff were visa holders, some even under 21, and were not given meal breaks at work. Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker stressed that underpayment issues involving visa holders are "serious," as the sector may be vulnerable to exploitation.

"All workers have the same rights in Australia regardless of nationality or visa status," Parker said in a statement.

Read more: Underpaid workers win massive back pay

The Ombudsman is asking the court to order Yuxuan to back-pay the 20 underpaid workers in

full. It is also seeking penalties against the operator, which could hit up $66,600 per breach, and against its director, who could face penalties up to $13,320 per breach. A directions hearing on the case will be heard on November 9.

Meanwhile, Parker is encouraging employees who have concerns in their wages to seek their free assistance.

"Employers also need to be aware that compliance in the fast food, restaurant and café 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 issue of underpaid staff at the outlets was first exposed in a viral video of a man slapping one of the waitresses there. The waitress was allegedly one of the underpaid workers, who had complained to her boss about their salary issue. The suspect pleaded guilty to his actions and was later convicted. However, he was not sent to jail because the magistrate found him to be a "good man" with "excellent character."

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