Queensland restaurant workers allegedly underpaid
THE former operator of an up-market Gold Coast Indian restaurant is in hot water for allegedly underpaying workers.
Versaf Pty Ltd and its sole director Sridhar Penumechchu - who previously ran Kokum at the ritzy Palazzo Versace - are the subject of legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Fair Work will allege in the Federal Circuit Court that Mr Penumechchu breached the Fair Work Act by failing to comply with a Compliance Notice.
It required the company to calculate outstanding amounts and back-pay employees.
Fair Work inspectors launched an investigation into Kokum in 2019 after workers allegedly made contact and requested assistance, a statement read.
The investigation allegedly uncovered the underpayment of minimum wages, casual loading, overtime, weekend and public holiday penalty rates and minimum engagement pay.
Fair Work wants Versaf Pty Ltd and Mr Penumechchu penalised and a court order to force action on the Compliance Notice.
The company faces a maximum penalty of $31,500 and Mr Penumechchu faces a maximum penalty of $6300.
A directions hearing has been listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane for May 22.
The court case marks the second time Fair Work has set its sights on Mr Penumechchu.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the watchdog was cracking down on alleged underpayments in the fast food, restaurant and cafe sector.
In a separate matter this month, Fair Work said it had started legal action in the court against Inverted Mountain Pty Ltd, which runs Govindas Surfers Paradise, alleging workers were underpaid.
Company directors Zardi Manning and Christopher Kruize will also face court, the ombudsman said at the time.
It was alleged there had been breaches involving record-keeping and pay slip laws, including not issuing any pay slips to an employee.
Kokum opened at Palazzo Versace at Seaworld Drive, Main Beach in late 2018.