Former hotel operator penalised for underpaying kitchen hand

The former operator of the Farmers Arms Hotel in Newry in Victoria has been penalised $3500 by the Federal Circuit Court after it was determined that it failed back-pay a former employee despite an FWO Compliance Notice ordering it to do so.

The court penalised the former operator Yorktor Pty, which has already been liquidated, and its owner Gary Robert Williams for failing to comply with the notice that required them to calculate and back-pay any outstanding amounts owing to the employee who had worked as a casual bar attendant and kitchen hand at the hotel.

The notice was issued after a Fair Work Inspector determined that the employee had been underpaid minimum wages and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and evening work under the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said that companies that fail to act on Compliance Notices are bound to face court-imposed penalties in addition to having to back-pay underpaid staff.

“We make every effort to secure voluntary compliance with Compliance Notices but where they are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive all their lawful entitlements,” Campbell said.

Judge Alister McNab, in his decision, referred to general deterrence being of particular importance due to the compliance record of the accommodation and food services industry.