The operators of three Din Tai Fung outlets have been accused of underpaying staff and providing false records to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).
The FWO has commenced legal action against DTF World Square Pty Ltd and Selden Farlane Lachlan Investments Pty Ltd. Both companies are part of the broader group that operates Din Tai Fung restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne.
It’s alleged 17 employees were underpaid $157,025 from November 2017 to June 2018, with the exception of one employee, whose underpayments spanned from July 2014 to May 2018.
The employees worked at the Chatswood and World Square locations in Sydney and the Emporium store in Melbourne.
Affected workers included cooks, waiters, restaurant managers and a dishwasher, with most holding student or employer-sponsored visas. 10 workers were under the age of 26 during the underpayment period.
Individual underpayments varied from $2,165 to $50,588, with flat hourly rates paid to 13 casual workers and fortnightly salaries that did not meet entitlements (ordinary hours, penalty rates, overtime rates) paid to four full-time staff. It’s also alleged casual loading entitlements were underpaid.
The companies are also accused of holding and providing false records to Fair Work inspectors, which understated hours worked and included false rates of pay for casual employees.
Providing false records and underpaying casual loading and weekend and public holiday penalty rates to casual employees are all considered serious contraventions under the Fair Work Act 2009.
Former director of both companies Dendy Harjanto, General Manager Hannah (Vera) Handoko and HR Coordinator Sinthiana Parmenas are all facing the Federal Court for their alleged involvement in some breaches.
The two companies are facing penalties of up to $630,000 per serious contravention and $63,000 per other contravention.
The accessories face penalties of up to $12,600 per contravention.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the Protecting Vulnerable Workers amendments to the Fair Work Act raised the penalties for employers who are found to have deliberately and systematically contravened the law.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman prioritises matters involving migrant workers, who we know can be heavily reliant on their employer and have limited understanding of their workplace rights,” said Parker.
The matter is listed for a directions hearing in the Federal Court in Sydney on 28 September 2020.
Image credit: Din Tai Fung