Hospital café operators to face court over underpayments

hearing, dispute resolution, labour-hire

The operators of a Melbourne fast food outlet is set to have a court appearance for failing to comply with a Fair Work Ombudsman’s Compliance Notice.

According to the FWO, Big Daddy’s Pty Ltd, which operates Alf’s Café at the city’s Alfred Hospital, and its sole director Elias Dannaoui, allegedly underpaid two workers, both visa holders from Colombia, who had been employed by Big Daddy’s Pty Ltd between 2017 and 2020. The workers were allegedly underpaid their minimum casual wages and penalty rates for weekend and public holiday work under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010.

A Fair Work Inspector issued Compliance Notices to Big Daddy’s Pty Ltd in March 2021 as a result of the investigation but the operator, with Dannaoui’s involvement, failed to comply with the Compliance Notices requiring it to back pay the workers’ entitlements, without reasonable excuse,

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.

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

The FWO is seeking penalties against Big Daddy’s Pty Ltd and Dannaoui for allegedly failing to comply with two Compliance Notices, with the company facing maximum penalties of up to $33,300 per breach and Dannaoui up to $6600 per breach. The regulator is also seeking an order for Big Daddy’s Pty Ltd to comply with the Compliance Notices, which includes rectifying any underpayments in full, plus interest and superannuation.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 17 February 2022.