The West Australian

The former operators of The Emperor’s Court restaurant in Wembley, Perth, have been hit with a combined $27,930 in penalties for failing to back-pay a worker.

The Emperor’s Court Pty Ltd and its sole director Gia Gian Wong faced the Fair Work Ombudsman in court after failing to address compliance notices.

In July 2021, it was found that a visa holder worker from Thailand, who worked as a cook from June to September 2020, was underpaid minimum wages, overtime rates, weekend penalty rates owed under the Restaurant Industry Award 2020 and leave entitlements owed under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standard.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a compliance notice requiring the operator to back-pay the worker in full, however Wong failed to comply.

Wong attended court recently to address the underpayments, with Judge Allyson Ladhams stating that the company and its operator did not have a reasonable excuse for not following the compliance order and said the conduct “demonstrates a deliberate disregard for their obligations under the Fair Work Act and the authority of the Ombudsman as a regulator of Commonwealth workplace laws”.

In turn, Wong was issued with a $4,620 penalty and The Emperor’s Court Pty Ltd with a $23,310 fine.

“The penalty for failing to comply with the compliance notice should be set at a level that demonstrates that there are serious consequences for failing to comply…” said Judge Ladhams.

The court has ordered The Emperor’s Court Pty Ltd to step the steps outlined in the compliance order including back-paying the worker in addition to interest and superannuation.