Salon operator to face court

A Melbourne hairdressing salon operator is set to face the Federal Circuit Court for alleged underpaying committed one of its workers.

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, Jorge Guillermo Viota, who operates the Jorge Viota Hairdressers and Barbers salon, failed to pay the employee her full wages and entitlements for work performed between December 2015 and December 2017. The employee was denied her full entitlement under the weekday casual rate, Saturday casual rate and public holiday penalty rate under the Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010.

A Compliance Notice was issued ordering Viola to calculate and back-pay the workers’ entitlements but he, without reasonable excuse, allegedly failed to comply. In line with the FWO’s proportionate approach to regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FWO made several attempts to secure voluntary compliance before commencing legal action.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking a penalty of up to $6300 against Viota and court orders requiring him to comply with the Compliance Notice (which includes rectifying any underpayments in full), plus interest. A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne on 27 October 2020.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker stressed that her office will continue to protect the interests of workers and put issues before the courts when necessary.

“Under the Fair Work Act, Compliance Notices are important tools used by inspectors if they form a belief that an employer has breached workplace laws,” Parker said.

“Where our requests are not complied with, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order business operators to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers,” Parker added. “Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance.”

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