Legal action has commenced against a former franchisee in Sydney, following allegations that it underpaid 17 workers more than $46,000.
According to a statement from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), facing the Federal Circuit Court is Panol DC Pty Ltd, the former operator of Chatime Cinema City outlet on George Street in Sydney, NSW.
Further, the Ombudsman has also taken court action against Panol DC’s directors, Carlo Benjamin Dela Cruz and Leiden Emmanuel Panol, for their alleged involvement in the underpayments.
Between January and November 2017, employees at Chatime Cinema City were allegedly generally paid flat rates as low as $13 to $18.55 per hour, according to the FWO.
This allegedly resulted in underpayment of the ordinary hourly rates, casual loadings and a special clothing allowance they were entitled to under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010.
Public holiday penalty rates were allegedly also underpaid, the FWO said.
In total, it is alleged that 17 employees were underpaid a total of $46,372 and that this has not been rectified.
Further, the FWO alleges that Panol DC Pty Ltd and Mr Panol also breached record-keeping laws.
Taking no prisoners
The FWO is currently conducting a series of audits and has committed to proactively stamping out underpayment.
“Enforcing workplace laws in the fast food sector continues to be a priority for the Fair Work Ombudsman, and we are investigating compliance levels in both established and emerging franchise chains across Australia. All franchise outlets are on notice that they must pay staff lawful minimum pay rates, and franchisors should take responsibility for ensuring that their franchisees comply with the law,” FWO Sandra Parker said.