Another small business faces legal action for exploitation

Employee exploitation

The Fair Work Ombudsman has started legal proceedings against the owner of the Melbourne burger bar, Burger Buzz, for apparently failing to back pay seven former employees who were underpaid over $7,000 for work performed early last year.

Over half of the individuals were overseas workers on working holiday visa, and two of the individuals were just 19 years old.

The company was issued with seven compliance notices requesting back payments be made, however failure to comply meant that the Fair Work Ombudsman were left with no choice but to commence legal action.

Owner, Todd, Patrick Buzza, and Company also failed to comply with three notices to produce employment records and allegedly breached workplace laws relating to payslips.

This does not appear to be the first time that Burger Buzz has had allegations of underpayment, as in 2014 Fair Work formally advised My Buzza of his minimum pay obligations on at least two occasions. Also facing Court is Mr Buzza’s company Rum Runner Trading Pty Ltd.

Mr Buzza could potentially face maximum penalties from $5,400 to $10,800 per contravene, and Rum Runner Trading Pty Ltd faces penalties of up to $27,000 to $54,000 per contravention. The hearing is scheduled for Federal Circuit Court on July 19 in Melbourne.

Fair Work to conduct national review

The Fair Work Ombudsman is conducting a national review of the wages and conditions of overseas workers in Australia on the 417 working holiday visa after receiving allegations that some unscrupulous operators may be guilty of backpacker exploitation.

The Fair Work Ombudsman recovered more than $2.2 million in underpaid wages and entitlements for 513 visa-holders from disputes completed by the Agency last calendar year – an average of $4317 each.

Read the full Fair Work media release here.