Fast-food operator facing prosecution for alleged $25,000 underpayment

Posted by Editorial on 10th September 2009

The Fair Work Ombudsman is prosecuting the operator of a Darwin take-away food outlet for allegedly underpaying a young employee almost $25,000.

The national pay protector has launched legal action Fortcrest Investments Pty Ltd, which owns and operates Lips Café at the Oasis Shopping Centre, Palmerston.

Documents lodged in the Federal Magistrates Court in Darwin allege Fortcrest Investments underpaid a casual food service employee a total of $24,526 over five years to 2008 when she was aged between 20 and 25.

The company allegedly underpaid the worker’s minimum hourly rate and failed to pay her a district allowance she was entitled to.

Court papers also claim the company failed to issue the employee payslips and failed to keep records relating to superannuation contributions made on her behalf.

The Fair Work Ombudsman started investigating Fortcrest Investments after the woman lodged a complaint in March last year.

The company paid the worker all money she was allegedly owed last September.

Fair Work Ombudsman Northern Territory Director Sharon Blandy says the decision to prosecute Fortcrest was made because of the significant amount involved for a low-paid young worker.

It is alleged Fortcrest Investments committed several breaches of workplace laws.

The maximum potential penalty per breach is $33,000 for the underpayment matters and $5500 for the payslip and record-keeping matters. The case is listed for a directions hearing on 16 September.

Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit www.fwo.gov.au. For translations call 13 14 50.