Gold Coast restaurant fined for underpaying three young employees

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a penalty in the Federal Circuit Court against the former operator of a Gold Coast restaurant for failing to back pay three employees Korean workers aged 21 to 22 on working holiday visas.

The Court imposed a penalty of $3396.60 against Mr Seouk Woong Hong, who formerly operated a Korean restaurant trading as Sogongdong Tofu House at Southport, after he was found to be involved in failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring the back-payment of three former employees at the restaurant. The penalty will be make up a portion of the underpayments owed to them, as to date they have not received all the monies they are entitled to.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell used the case to highlight the fact that individual business operators involved in failing to act on Compliance Notices can face court-imposed penalties.

“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” Campbell said.

“Improving compliance in the restaurant, café and fast food sector will remain a key priority for the Fair Work Ombudsman throughout 2021-22.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance,” Campbell added.

The Fair Work Ombudsman started an investigation after receiving requests for assistance from the former employees at Sogongdong Tofu House. A Compliance Notice was issued in May when that investigation uncovered the fact that the three former employees, all food and beverage attendants, had been underpaid their entitlements under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 – the employees had been underpaid minimum wage rates, casual loadings and penalty rates for weekend and public holiday for short periods of work they did between June and October 2019.