A Perth cafe must pay thousands of dollars in compensation and penalties for illegally deducting money from the wages of its employees over minor errors.
Responding to complaints from four staff, the Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James found the Subiaco business had regularly docked the wages of its employees, including deducting $100 each time they were more than five minutes' late for their rostered shifts.
On one occasion, a female cook had $112 taken from her pay packet after her employer decided the crackling on a pork belly dish was "not crispy enough".
The amount reflected the total bill from diners at the table that ordered the meal.
Other unlawful deductions included $30 if a tomato was placed in the wrong layer of a club sandwich, $12 for overcooking a waffle and $10 for failure to prepare parsley for the following day.
"Further, this employer was asking its staff to pay up to $1200 each out of their own pockets for in-house cooking demonstrations by the cafe's head chef," Ms James said.
The affected employees - from India and Nepal on regional sponsored migration visas at the time - no longer work at the premises.
Ms James said the employees had received compensation of $5000 each from their former employer following conciliation before the Fair Work Commission.
The Fair Work Ombudsman issued the business with on-the-spot fines totalling $7650 and a letter of caution placing it on notice for any further contraventions.
"Deducting money from employee wages as a punishment, or as some sort of performance management tool, is completely unlawful," Ms James said.
"And it is clearly not a constructive way of encouraging staff to improve their performance if there are performance issues that need addressing."