RESTAURATEUR COPS FINE FOR SHORT-CHANGING STAFF

RESTAURATEUR COPS FINE FOR SHORT-CHANGING STAFF

A FORMER owner-operator of Maroubra's Crust Gourmet Pizza has been fined for refusing to pay employees adequate wages, despite being issued a compliance notice by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Judge Nick Nicholls of the Federal Circuit Court issued Sotirios Theocharidis with a $3825 fine to be paid directly to those caught short under his employment, kick-starting a repayment plan of the total $25,995 underpayment figure discovered in 2013.

Of the eight employees affected by this failure to meet basic workplace laws, five were under the age of 25.

Outstanding payments were first exposed by the Fair Work Ombudsman during a nationwide auditing campaign of almost 7000 businesses, after which a compliance notice was issued to Theocharidis requiring all payments to be made.

Upon failing to meet the Ombudsman's terms and neglecting to lodge an application for a review of the notice, Theocharidis was charged.

According to Judge Nicholls this contravention of workplace laws was deliberate and Theocharidis had been uncooperative with the Ombudsman, factors which increased both the severity of his actions and penalty.

The fine has been issued publicly as a deterrent to owners and operators of fast-food outlets, an industry notorious for its non-compliance with Fair Work standards.

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