The operators of Cafe 3564 in Echuca, Victoria, have been hit with a slew of penalties for failing to back-pay a visa holder.

The former cook worked at the cafe from July 2017 to September 2019, with Fair Work Ombudsman inspectors investigating after receiving a request for assistance from the worker.

Inspectors formed the belief the employee had been underpaid minimum wage rates, overtime, penalty rates and more, going on to issue a compliance notice in October 2020.

Hospitality 3564, the operators of the cafe, and the company’s sole director David Bowman, faced the Fair Work Ombudsman in court for failing to act on the compliance notice issued by Fair Work.

It’s alleged the company only back-paid the worker more than $48,000 after the Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators that fail to act on compliance notices need to be aware they can face penalties in court on top of having to back-pay workers.

“When compliance notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” said Parker.

The matter was heard by Judge Jonathan Forbes, who found the worker suffered substantial losses and accepted Bowman admitted they had no reasonable excuse for not complying with the notice.

Judge Forbes found there was a need to impose penalties to deter others from similar conduct.

“Employers who receive compliance notices should be under no misapprehension about what is required of them. Non-compliance must attract a sufficient sanction to meet the objectives of general and specific deterrence,” Judge Forbes said.

The company was penalised $14,985, with Bowman issued with a $2,997 fine, resulting in a total penalty of $17,982.