The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured $124,416 in penalties against the operator of a chain
of sushi outlets for deliberately underpaying migrant workers in Canberra.
The owner of the business ‘Sushi Bay Belconnen’ has been fined more than $20,000 and the company fined more than $100,000. The company admitted to underpaying 22 employees at Sushi Bay Belconnen a total of $18,671 in 2015 and 2016. The employees were underpaid amounts ranging from $103 to $1992. Most of the underpaid employees were Korean nationals who were in Australia on working holiday and student visas.
Fair Work Ombudsman complained that the owners’s conduct exploited vulnerable workers
who were young and migrants. Fair Work Ombudsman inspectors discovered the underpayments at Sushi Bay Belconnen when they audited more than 40 sushi outlets across Canberra, South-East Queensland, the Hunter, Central Coast, Coffs Harbour and North Coast regions in NSW. Inspectors found that pay rates at Sushi Bay Belconnen did not comply with the Restaurant Industry Award 2010. Judge Brana Obradovic found that the matter involved deliberate conduct that included the underpayment of “basic and fundamental entitlement[s]”. “The Court finds that the contravening conduct was deliberate”.