The former operator of Gold Coast Indian restaurant Kokum will face court in Brisbane on 22 May 2020 over allegations it breached the Fair Work Act by failing to meet the requirements of a Compliance Notice issued by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

It’s believed that both the company, Versaf Pty Ltd, and the company’s sole director Sridhar Penumechchu, were responsibly for a range of breaches, including underpayment of minimum wages, casual loadings, minimum engagement pay, overtime rates, and weekend and public holiday penalty rates under the Hospitality Industry (General) Award (2010).

The restaurant was investigated in 2019 after receiving requests for assistance from employees. Versaf Pty Ltd and Penumechchu are now facing maximum penalties of $31,500 and $6,300, respectively. The FWO is also seeking a Court Order requiring the company and Penumechchu to take the action required by the Compliance Notice, including calculating any underpayments and rectifying them in full, plus superannuation and interest.

Another case involving Penumechchu is currently before the court, with the FWO commencing legal action against him and Saffron Indian Gourmet Pty Ltd in November 2019. The case pertains to a Court-Enforceable Undertaking (EU) entered into in March 2019 after Fair Work Inspectors found 22 employees had been underpaid.

The Saffron Indian Gourmet restaurant, located at Broadbeach, was investigated after the FWO received an anonymous tip-off from an employee. They found 22 workers were paid flat hourly rates between $15 and $18.50 leading to underpayment of the ordinary hourly rates, casual loadings, and weekend and public holiday penalty rates under Restaurant Industry Award.

Image credit: Weekend Notes

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