Bakery operators alleged to have underpaid workers

The operators of a chain of bakery outlets in Melbourne are set to be put into trial for having allegedly underpaid two employees.

In a complaint lodged by the Fair Work Ombudsman, Gothic Downs Pty Ltd, the operators of the Bakers Boutique & Patisserie retail bakery outlets, and its sole director, Giuseppe Conforto, allegedly underpaid the employees, one of them a visa holder from India, who worked in two of their outlets between 2016 and 2018.

Two Compliance Notices were earlier issued to Gothic Downs Pty Ltd for them to backpay the employees’ due minimum wages, early morning shift rates, weekend and public holiday penalty rates, and overtime rates under the General Retail Industry Award 2010, as well as leave entitlements under the Fair Work Act 2009 and applicable superannuation. However, the regulator failed to comply with the notice and “without reasonable excuse.”

The regulator alleges that the company, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notices. The notices required the employer to calculate and back-pay the outstanding wages and entitlements owing to the employees, including the applicable superannuation.

“Where employers do not comply with our requests, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order the business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers,” Ombudsman Sandra Parker said.

The company faces potential penalties of up to $31,500 per contravention and Conforto up to $6300 for each contravention.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a court order that would require the company to comply with the Compliance Notices, which would include rectifying underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.

A hearing is scheduled at the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne on 6 August 2020.

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