Ex-manager of top resort restaurant faces court on wage rort charges

A former Queensland resort restaurateur is to face court for the third time over alleged underpayment of foreign workers.

The Fair Work Ombudsman will allege in the Federal Circuit Court that Jia Ning Wang, former manager of the Fire and Stone Restaurant at Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island, underpaid nine employees, most of them  young overseas staff on working holiday visas.

Also facing penalty is the company that owns the restaurant, Auspac Hospitality Management.

The ombudsman alleges breaches of record-keeping and pay slip laws relating to the nine employees and breaches of pay slip laws with respect to a further seven employees.

It is claimed the nine employees were underpaid a total of $2,239 in minimum wages and entitlements under the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 between March and October 2017. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman has twice won previous cases against Mr Wang and his former company, Golden Vision Food and Beverage Services, the named operator of the Fire and Stone Restaurant.

“It is very disappointing to commence legal proceedings against an individual for a third time for alleged breaches of workplace laws,” said Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker.

“Mr Wang has twice previously been penalised in Court for significant breaches of workplace laws, yet we allege he has continued to engage in non-compliant behaviour.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman is committed to holding business operators to account, particularly when disputes arise involving vulnerable workers.

“Australia’s minimum pay rates apply to everyone – they are not negotiable and any workers with concerns should contact us.”

Ms Parker is seeking penalties of up to $12,600 per alleged breach against Mr Wang and up to $63,000 per alleged breach against Auspac Hospitality Management.

She is also seeking court orders requiring the company to commission workplace relations training for Mr Wang and other senior managers and to commission an audit of its compliance with workplace laws.

The case will be heard in Brisbane’s Federal Circuit Court on 19 February.

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