Restaurant faces legal action after claims they underpaid 60 staff

Posted by James Ferre on 8th December 2008

Perth’s Shimizu Japanese restaurants face court action after workplace inspectors found they had allegedly underpaid more than 60 workers.The Federal Workplace Ombudsman is taking action in the Federal Magistrates Court against Golden Maple Pty Ltd, which operates the Shimizu restaurants, CityTeam Pty Ltd, which employed workers at the restaurants, and Lawrence Chia, a director of both companies.

Workplace Ombudsman WA state director Leigh Quealy said investigations by his office found that Golden Maple and CityTeam had allegedly underpaid 66 restaurant workers – including young international students with limited English – a total of more than $31,000, including unpaid superannuation.

“Some restaurant workers were required to complete 20 hours of unpaid ‘work experience’ before they commenced paid employment,” Mr Quealy said.

Among the findings of the Workplace Ombudsman were underpayments of casual loadings and weekend penalty rates, non-payment of wages and laundry allowances and non-payment of accrued annual leave on termination.

Mr Quealy said Golden Maple and CityTeam had only rectified the underpayments after two audits and several complaints.

He added the legal action related to alleged underpayments of more than $10,000 to 43 workers.

The maximum penalty for each breach of the Workplace Relations Act is $33,000 for the two companies and $6600 for Mr Chia.