Underpaying then firing worker via text message lands restaurant in hot water

by Victoria Bruce17 Mar 2016
Underpaying an international student almost $2,000 then firing her by text message has seen the operators of a Queensland island resort restaurant face the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against Golden Vision Food and Beverage Services Pty Ltd and former director Jia Ning Wang.

It is the second time the Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced proceedings against the company and Mr Wang arising from their Fire and Stone Restaurant on Moreton Island.

It is alleged the company underpaid an American international student almost $2,000 during her two weeks of work from December 1 to December 15, 2014.

The underpayment was rectified almost a year after the payments were due.

Fair Work Ombudsman investigators also allege Mr Wang ended the waitress’ employment after she asked her employer to pay her the minimum wage for her work as a waitress.

The alleged contraventions against the employer include failing to pay for ordinary hours, failure to pay Saturday and Sunday penalty rates or evening shift penalty rates, overtime and leave loading.

It is also alleged there was adverse action from the company in response to the worker inquiring about her rights, those actions being a threat to terminate her employment and the actual termination of her employment.

The matter is listed for a directions hearing on April 4.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says young workers, particularly international students, are among the most vulnerable to exploitation.

“Employees should feel safe in the knowledge that they will not suffer a detriment or lose their job for asking to be paid in accordance with the law,’’ James says.

“There are minimum pay rates, they apply to everyone and they are not negotiable.’’

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