Alleged underpayments land fast food outlet in Court

The operators of a Queensland fast food business are set to face the Federal Circuit Court for the alleged underpayment of a former employee.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is taking action against Riddhi Siddhi Pty Ltd, the operator of a fast food outlet trading as Vege Rama and an associated commercial kitchen in Brisbane, along with its director Ruchika Sharma.

It is alleged that the outlet underpaid the employee compared to their entitlements under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010. The employee, a visa holder from Nepal, aged in his 20s at the time of the alleged underpayment, worked as a kitchenhand on a casual basis at the commercial kitchen from April 2018 to August 2019, working between 50 and 60 hours per week.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to calculate and back-pay the worker’s entitlements as a result of an investigation but the company has yet to comply with the notice.

It is also alleged the company provided false and misleading records and payslips to Fair Work Inspectors, incorrectly showing the hours worked by the employee and the employee being paid above award wages. Sharma is alleged to be directly involved in these contraventions.

The FWO is seeking penalties against Riddhi Siddhi and Sharma of up to $31,500 and $6300 respectively. For each of the contraventions concerning false records and payslips, the company and Sharma face possible maximum penalties of up to $63,000 and $12,600 respectively.

The regulator is also seeking a court order for the company to take the action required by the Compliance Notice, which includes calculating and rectifying any underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.

A directions hearing has been set for 12 February 2021.

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