The former operator of Konna Indian Cuisine in Melbourne’s Richmond is facing court for allegedly failing to respond to a request to backpay thousands of dollars to two former employees.

Legal action has been commenced against RS & JS Pty Ltd, which previous owned and operated the restaurant, which was later renamed Punjabi Tandoori Corner. Also facing court is the former company director, Hari Pal.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that two Indian national visa holders studying in Australia were underpaid a total of more than $8,000 for work performed at the restaurant between October 2014 and January 2015.

It’s alleged the two females were paid a flat rate of $12 an hour for waiting on tables and didn’t receive penalties when working on weekends, nights and public holidays.

They were allegedly short-changed $5,395 and $2,687.

The Fair Work Ombudsman issued a Compliance Notice to RS &JS Pty Ltd in October last year requiring the underpayment to be rectified, but it was not.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the employer’s failure to respond to the Compliance Notice and the involvement of vulnerable overseas workers were factors in the agency’s decision to litigate.

“We will always look to work with employers to resolve issues co-operatively and voluntarily where we can, but we take a dim view of employers who do not engage with us and deliberately ignore us and their workplace obligations,” she said.

RS & JS Pty Ltd faces a penalty up to $51,000, while Pal faces a penalty of up to $10,200.


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