By Nick Obst
The Fair Work Ombudsman recently launched court action in the Federal Circuit Court against the operators of a rooftop cocktail bar in the CBD.
C&H Entertainment Pty Ltd, the operators of the Red Hummingbird bar at 246 Russell St, will face court in March alongside company director Don Haris Kumarage and manager Channa Dissanayake.
The company is alleged to have breached the Fair Work Act (2009) by failing to follow a compliance notice requiring the company to provide back pay to workers who were allegedly underpaid.
The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Mr Kumarage was involved in this breach.
A Fair Work Inspector issued the compliance notice last year following an investigation into the Red Hummingbird based on a request for assistance from a British national working at the bar on a working holiday visa.
The Fair Work Inspector suspected the company had underpaid casual loading and penalty rates under the Hospitality Industry (General) Award.
The company also allegedly breached record-keeping and pay slip laws.
The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Mr Kumarage and Mr Dissanayake were involved in these breaches.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator took alleged underpayments of migrant workers “particularly seriously”.
“We know they can often be vulnerable due to their visa status, and [the Fair Work Ombudsman] will continue to use all its enforcement tools to ensure employers meet their lawful obligations,” she said.
C&H Entertainment faces a maximum penalty of $31,500 for the alleged compliance notice breach, while Mr Kumarage could face a penalty of up to $6300.
The company could be fined up to $63,000 per breach for the alleged record-keeping and pay slip breaches, while Mr Kumarage and Mr Dissanayake could face penalties of up to $12,600 per breach.
CBD News contacted Red Hummingbird for comment but did not receive a response.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a court order requiring C&H Entertainment to comply with its compliance notice.
The company will face the Federal Circuit Court for a directions hearing on March 2.