Bundaberg noodle bar allegedly underpaid cook $90K

A TAKEAWAY noodle bar on Bourbong St has allegedly underpaid a Chinese cook almost $100,000 in less than three years.
A TAKEAWAY noodle bar on Bourbong St has allegedly underpaid a Chinese cook almost $100,000 in less than three years. Scottie Simmonds

A TAKEAWAY noodle bar on Bourbong St has allegedly underpaid a Chinese cook almost $100,000 in less than three years.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has revealed documents were filed in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney, claiming the 457 visa holder was short changed a total of $92,086 when she worked at the food outlet.

The woman was one of six Chinese employees allegedly underpaid a total of $642,311 by WXZ Enterprises Pty Ltd at four of its stores in Queensland and NSW between July, 2010 and March, 2013.

It is also alleged a male cook in Dubbo was underpaid $189,225 and a male supervisor and female cook in Bathurst were underpaid $129,314 and $125,605 respectively.

A female and a male cook in Orange were also underpaid $88,034 and $18,047 respectively.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has begun legal proceedings against WXZ Enterprises and NSW men Xin Tai Xu and Xin Chun Xu, who were allegedly involved in managing the company's operations and underpaying the workers.

The agency is seeking penalties and a court order for back-payment of the money allegedly owed to the employees.

Court documents alleged WXZ Enterprises paid the six a flat weekly wage as low as $530, despite them generally working up to seven days a week and often more than 60 hours a week.

It is alleged the workers were underpaid their minimum hourly rates, penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and overtime work and annual and personal/carer's leave entitlements.

Company record-keeping and pay slips contraventions are also alleged.

The alleged underpayments were discovered following complaints lodged by employees.

Fair Work Ombudsman spokeswoman Natalie James said the significant sums of money involved for vulnerable, foreign workers and a failure by the employer to rectify the alleged underpayments were significant factors in the decision to take legal action.

The company faces penalties of up to $51,000 per contravention and both men each face penalties up to $10,200 per contravention.

The largest penalty awarded by the courts in a matter initiated by the ombudsman is $343,860 - delivered against a Perth cleaning company and its manager in September, 2013.

They were found to have deliberately underpaid six cleaners - including five overseas workers - and as well as the penalty, instructed the employees be reimbursed more than $22,000 in underpaid wages.

Topics:  fair work ombudsman

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