Operators of hair and beauty salon in court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operators of a Melbourne hair and beauty salon.

Facing court is Shree Hari Kishan Pty Ltd, which operates ‘M Hair ‘n’ Beauty Studio’ in Dandenong and formerly operated ‘Multi Cut Hair and Beauty Salon’ in Springvale. Also facing court is the company’s sole director, Manoj Manoj.

The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from an Indian worker, on a 482 temporary skills shortage visa, who had been employed as a full-time hairdresser at both salons between July 2019 and July 2020.

A Fair Work inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Shree Hari Kishan in March 2021 after forming a belief the worker had been underpaid minimum wages, meal allowance, overtime rates, and penalty rates for weekend and public holiday work under the Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Shree Hari Kishan, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to calculate and back-pay the worker’s entitlements. It is alleged Mr Manoj was involved in the contravention.

The regulator also alleges that the company and Mr Manoj breached the Fair Work Act by providing false or misleading records to a Fair Work inspector on four occasions.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Mark Scully 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,” Mr Scully said.

“Employers should also be aware that allegedly providing false records to a Fair Work inspector is a serious issue that can result in enforcement action.”

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free advice and assistance.”

The FWO is seeking penalties in court. For the alleged failure to comply with the Compliance Notice, Shree Hari Kishan faces a penalty of up to $33,300 and Mr Manoj faces a penalty of up to $6,660. For each alleged instance of providing false or misleading records, the company faces a penalty of up to $66,600 and Mr Manoj faces a penalty of up to $13,320.

The FWO is also seeking an order for the company to comply with the Compliance Notice, including rectifying the alleged underpayment in full, plus superannuation and interest. A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 22 July 2022.

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