THE Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced further legal action relating to the Han’s Cafe chain, alleging staff at the Rockingham outlet were underpaid more than $27,000.
The Ombudsman claims underpaid staff included several teenagers and overseas workers.
The charges against the Rockingham Han’s Cafe outlet franchisee Tac Pham Pty Ltd and the outlet’s general manager Cuc Thi Thu Pham are to be heard in the Federal Court in Perth on June 26.
It is alleged 22 employees at the Rockingham Han’s Cafe were underpaid $27,920 between December 2014 and December 2015.
The legal action comes after the Fair Work Ombudsman last month secured $37,500 in penalties in court against the operator of Han’s Cafe chain Tram Hoang Han and two associated companies for record-keeping practices that were so poor they prevented the Fair Work Ombudsman from determining the full extent of underpayments.
The latest legal action is the result of an investigation Fair Work Ombudsman inspectors started after receiving a tip-off during an auditing campaign in Perth’s south.
Inspectors allegedly found staff at the Han’s Cafe Rockingham store were being paid various low, flat rates that were generally below the minimum lawful rates under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010.
The 22 allegedly underpaid employees include nine juniors who were aged between 17 and 19, and seven overseas workers from Vietnam in Australia on international student visas.
The employees were allegedly underpaid minimum rates for ordinary hours and also short-changed a split-shift allowance and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and late night work.
Inspectors claim pay slip laws were also contravened.
The workers were back-paid in full earlier this year.
It is alleged the underpayments occurred despite the Fair Work Ombudsman having educated Ms Pham and Tac Pham Pty Ltd in 2013 about minimum lawful Award wage rates after receiving an underpayment allegation from a worker.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said legal action started because vulnerable workers had allegedly been significantly short-changed despite the employer having been on notice of its obligations.
If convicted, Tac Pham Pty Ltd faces penalties of up to $54,000 per contravention and Ms Pham faces penalties of up to $10,800 per contravention.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a court order for the company to commission workplace relations training for managerial staff.
The manager of Rockingham Han’s Cafe has been contacted for comment.
Han’s general manager Cuc Thi Thu Pham is on holiday.
Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available by calling 13 14 50.