The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operators of a Melbourne fast food outlet.
Facing court are Big Daddy’s Pty Ltd, which operates an outlet trading as ‘Alf’s Café’ at the Alfred Hospital, and the company’s sole director Elias Dannaoui.
The regulator began an investigation after receiving requests for assistance from two workers, both visa holders from Colombia, who had been employed by Big Daddy’s Pty Ltd as fast food workers between 2017 and 2020.
A Fair Work Inspector issued Compliance Notices to Big Daddy’s Pty Ltd in March 2021 after forming a belief that the company had underpaid the workers’ minimum casual wages and penalty rates for weekend and public holiday work under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010.
The FWO alleges Big Daddy’s Pty Ltd, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notices, which required it to back-pay the workers’ entitlements. It is alleged Mr Dannaoui was involved in the contraventions.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.
“Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers.”
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance,” Ms Parker said.
The FWO is seeking penalties against Big Daddy’s Pty Ltd and Mr Dannaoui for allegedly failing to comply with two Compliance Notices.
The company faces maximum penalties of up to $33,300 per breach and Mr Dannaoui faces maximum penalties of up to $6,600 per breach.
The regulator is also seeking an order for Big Daddy’s Pty Ltd to comply with the Compliance Notices, which includes rectifying any underpayments in full, plus interest and superannuation.
A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 17 February 2022.