A former Hobart restaurant operator has been hit with $78,000 in penalties for not paying staff wages.
Anatolia Restaurant owner Oya Waechter has been slammed with a $78,000 penalty after shortchanging staff $32,411 between February 2015 and June 2016.
The operator will now be required to pay all the outstanding wages and the penalty, coming to around $100,000 after a decision in the Federal Circuit Court.
Four staff members at the restaurant were paid late or not at all, and when they were paid, they were paid incorrectly, the Fair Work Ombudsman revealed on Tuesday.
In fact, one worker from Pakistan was paid only 10 per cent of his wages, while a Malaysian student was short-changed $24,800 over 12 months.
“The exploitation of vulnerable workers is unacceptable – whether they be international students, young workers or apprentices of any age,” Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said.
“Every worker in Australia is entitled to minimum wages and entitlements regardless of age or nationality.
“These penalties should serve as a warning to all employers to ensure that they are paying their workers correctly and issue accurate pay slips. Any employees with concerns about their wages or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman.”
Judge Grant Riethmuller added that the restaurant operator’s actions were “deliberate” and that the operator’s failure to provide pay slips was also a “serious contravention” that “significantly disempowers employees”.
“In this matter there has been significant exploitation of employees who for the most part, were never paid,” Judge Riethmuller said, describing them as having “simply ignored their obligations”.
Anatolia Restaurant stopped trading in late 2016.