Café faces thousands in fines over alleged underpayments
The operators of 3 Beans cafe at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast will face court early next year over allegations they breached the Fair Work Act.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against Sun Sea Equity Pty Ltd, which traded as ‘3 Beans’, and its sole director Natasha Doumani, alleging the company failed to comply with a Compliance Notice.
The Compliance Notice was issued earlier this year after two employees, both in their 20s, requested assistance from the FWO. The investigating Fair Work Inspector formed a reasonable belief that the company allegedly underpaid minimum wage rates for ordinary hours, casual loading, overtime, weekend and public holiday penalty rates, and late night and early morning shift payments under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010.
The Compliance Notice required Sun Sea Equity Pty Ltd to correctly calculate and back-pay the alleged underpayments. It’s also alleged Doumani was involved in the breach.
“Under the Fair Work Act, inspectors can issue a compliance notice if they have a reasonable belief that an employer has breached workplace laws,” explained Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker. “Employers must comply with Compliance Notices unless they decide to challenge a notice in court.
The FWO is seeking penalties, with Sun Sea Equity facing a maximum penalty per breach of $31,500 and Doumani a maximum penalty of $6,300 per breach.
The FWO is also seeking a Court Order requiring the company to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying the underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.
A directions hearing has been listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane for 27 March 2020.
The fast food, restaurant and café sector has accounted for more disputes than any other industry during the last six years. It made up 56 per cent of the FWO’s new litigations last financial year.