Paying workers in pizza sees restaurant operators fined

by Janie Smith16 Jun 2014
Two restaurant operators are $334,818 out of pocket after the Fair Work Ombudsman discovered that they were paying teenage employees in pizza and soft drink instead of wages.

According to the Ombudsman’s website, 111 mostly teenage employees, including one aged 13, had been underpaid by a total of $258,000 between 2009 and 2012 while working at La Porchetta outlets in Pakenham and Berwick in Melbourne.

A complaint from a parent of a young staff member led to an investigation by the Ombudsman, who discovered that the underpayment of the individual employees ranged from $3 to $25,358.

The case went to the Federal Circuit Court, where it was revealed that employees were given half-priced pizza and soft drink, which was “offset” against their wages and entitlements.

In his decision, Judge John O’Sullivan said that such a practice “belongs in the dark ages”.

Serious record-keeping contraventions were also discovered, which Judge O’Sullivan described as “fundamental and flagrant”.

Bound for Glory Enterprises and Zillion Zenith International, which operate the restaurants, were each fined $139,507.50.

Ruby Chand, the US-based owner of both franchises, was fined a further $55,803.


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