Rockpool Dining Group has been accused of underpaying workers $10 million dollars by law firm Maurice Blackburn, according to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
The law firm has called it “one of the most egregious cases of wage theft Australia has seen yet” and formally referred Rockpool to the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Maurice Blackburn is representing Victorian-based union Hospo Voice, who claim current and former Rockpool employees contacted them with concerns.
It’s alleged hourly records were destroyed and the time sheets of workers were deliberately altered to 38 hours a week to adhere to workplace law, a practice reportedly conducted at a number of Rockpool restaurants.
Rockpool confirmed the group was currently working with the Fair Work Ombudsman and previously agreed to back-pay workers $1.6 million last October for the 2018 financial year.
However, underpayments have been occurring since 2013, with the total amount yet to be released.
Rockpool released a statement in July confirming: “payments have now been made to current and former employees in relation to the five financial years from June 2013 to June 2017 inclusive.”
The company attributed the underpayments to “legacy systems and procedures [that] were not capable of appropriately ensuring, in all instances, that every team member received correct payments to reflect hours worked and that this resulted in instances of underpayment.”
Rockpool has responded to the latest allegations in a statement, calling them “extremely serious in nature”.
“We believe the article published includes false and misleading information and includes allegations by parties with limited knowledge of relevant facts. These allegations have been made without any substantiation.”
According to The Age and SMH, the Ombudsman has requested Maurice Blackburn submit information regarding the allegations for investigation.
A spokesperson for the Ombudsman has also encouraged current and former Rockpool employees to contact Fair Work directly if they have concerns.
Image credit: Out In Canberra