The operator of Mature Yago restaurant at The Pier precinct in Cairns is facing court for allegedly short-changing an overseas worker more than $33,000 over a period of almost three years.

Poisson Pty Ltd and businesswoman Miyuki Yogo operate the venue, which sponsored the 34 year old employee on a 187 Regional Sponsored Migrant Visa.

The employee, who is from Japan, worked as a waitress and later, as a manager. She was allegedly underpaid her minimum hourly rate, casual loadings, shift allowances, annual leave entitlements and penalty rates for weekend, night and public holiday work between May 2012 and April 2015. This resulted in a total underpayment of $33,693.

The employer also allegedly breached its obligations relating to pay-slips and record-keeping.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said that while all outstanding entitlements have been repaid, legal action is proceeding on the basis that the underpayment was significant and involved a vulnerable overseas worker.

Yogo faces maximum penalties of up to $10,200 per contravention and Poisson Pty Ltd faces penalties of up to $51,000 per contravention.

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