The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a $28,021 penalty in court against the former operator of a Pizza Hut outlet in south-east Queensland.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed the penalty against IFITS Food Co Pty Ltd, which was the franchisee for the outlet located on Albion Street, in Warwick, until the company ceased operating the outlet in late 2021.
Judge Gregory Egan found that there was a need to impose a penalty that would deter the company and others from similar conduct in future.
Judge Egan said:
“There is no evidence that the respondent has taken any action to change its recalcitrant behaviour.”
The penalty was imposed in response to IFITS Food Co failing to comply with Compliance Notices requiring it to calculate and back-pay entitlements to two workers it employed at the Warwick Pizza Hut outlet in part-time roles between March 2020 to October 2021.
One worker was employed as an assistant manager and the other, aged 17 at the time of employment, was in a kitchen hand and customer service role.
In addition to the penalty, the Court has ordered IFITS Food Co to back-pay the workers in full, plus applicable superannuation applying to one worker and interest for both.
Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face penalties in court on top of having to back-pay workers.
“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive all their lawful entitlements.”
Ms Booth added:
“Employers also need to be aware that taking action to protect young workers and improve compliance in the fast food, restaurant and café sector are among our top priorities. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”
The FWO investigated after receiving requests for assistance from the affected workers.
A Fair Work Inspector issued Compliance Notices to IFITS Food Co in February and April 2022 after forming a belief the company failed to pay the workers’ accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements at the end of their employment, owed under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.
The Fair Work Inspector also formed a belief the young worker was not paid payment-in-lieu-of-notice-of-termination entitlements, owed under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010.
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