A former Melbourne Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar franchisee and one of its directors have been penalised a total of $75,400, after the Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court in October 2018. 

Desire Food Pty Ltd, which formerly operated the Cheltenham Crust outlet, and company director and part-owner Chern Ming “Rick” Lee, admitted to breaching workplace laws by paying seven employees unlawfully low rates of pay and providing false time and wage records to Fair Work inspectors.

The seven employees — six visa holders from non-English speaking backgrounds, who worked as delivery drivers and pizza makers, and one 17 year old — were underpaid $35,725 in total.

Laws relating to false records, meal breaks, payment of a transport allowance, minimum shift periods, pay slips and frequency-of-pay were also breached.

Desire Food has been penalised $63,500, while Lee, who managed the outlet, has been penalised a further $11,900, in the Federal Circuit Court.

Judge Alister McNab found that the matter involved vulnerable employees and there was a need to impose penalties to deter other employers from similar conduct.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said that if employers unlawfully underpay migrant workers, they risk serious consequences including court action and penalties.

Image: Herald Sun

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