Crust pizza operator caught out for short-changing employees

28 August, 2015 by
Danielle Bowling

The former owner-operator of a Sydney Crust pizza store has been fined for refusing to pay eight employees the almost $26,000 they were owed.

Sotirios Theocharidis formerly owned and ran the Crust Gourmet Pizza outlet in Maroubra and is now facing a Federal Circuit Court imposed penalty of $3,825.

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Eight delivery drivers and sales employees, including five under 25 years of age, were short changed a total of $25,995 in 2013.

The Fair Work Ombudsman discovered the underpayments when it audited the business as part of a proactive campaign focused on the fast food sector.

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Judge Nick Nicholls requested the penalty be paid to the workers to partially rectify the underpayments, which remain outstanding.

In 2013, the Fair Work Ombudsman issued a Compliance Notice to Theocharidis and his private company that required the underpayments to be rectified – but they failed to meet the requirements of the Notice and no application for a review of the Notice was made. Judge Nicholls found that Theocharidis failed to back-pay the workers despite the Fair Work Ombudsman having earlier put him on notice. Judge Nicholls found that Theocharidis’ contravention of workplace laws was deliberate and that he had been unco-operative with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

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The penalty imposed should “serve as a general deterrent to others in the fast food industry, which is said to be ‘notorious’ for non-compliance with the standards required by the Fair Work Act,” Judge Nicholls said.