Judge’s gavel, Themis sculpture and collection of legal books on the brown background.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against sole trader Muntazir Hussain who operates Night Spark Restaurant in Brunswick East.

It is alleged that Mr Hussain underpaid minimum wages, penalty rates for working weekends and evenings, and did not pay accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements at the end of employment for one full-time worker.

The worker was a Pakistani national on a bridging visa who Mr Hussain employed as a full-time cook at the restaurant from August to September 2022.

The worker requested assistance from Fair Work which saw an inspector form the belief the worker was owed entitlements under the Restaurant Industry Award 2020 and the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

Mr Hussain was issued a Compliance Notice in January 2023, which The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges he, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is now taking Mr Hussain to court where he will face a penalty of up to $6,660 for failing to comply, along with the act of rectifying the underpayment plus interest and superannuation.

Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth encourages workers who believe that may be at risk of being underpaid to contact Fair Work for help.

“Employers also need to be aware that taking action to protect workers such as visa holders who can often be more vulnerable and improving compliance in the fast food, restaurant and café sector are among our top priorities,” says Ms Booth.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance.”