The operators of a Crust Gourmet Pizza outlet are facing court, accused of discriminating against a number of overseas workers by paying them less than their Australian-born colleagues.
Anandh Kumarasamy and Haridas Raghuram, and their company QHA Foods Pty Ltd, run the Crust outlet on Elizabeth Street in North Hobart.
Overseas workers were on student visas
The alleged discrimination involved three Bangladeshi nationals and one Indian national who the Fair Work Ombudsman alleges were underpaid a total of $9,926 between January and July 2106.
The four workers, who were in Australia on student visas, performed duties including making and delivering pizzas, serving customers and cleaning.
They were allegedly paid flat hourly rates of $12, plus $1 for every pizza delivery, which meant they didn’t receive the minimum hourly rates, casual and evening loadings and penalty rates for weekend and public holiday work.
It is also alleged that they were paid in cash, and not given payslips.
Australian workers paid higher rates
In contrast, the Australian employees at the Crust Pizza outlet were paid higher minimum rates of more than $18 an hour, and $46.31 on public holidays, in addition to a cents-per-kilometre rate for deliveries.
Unlike the overseas workers, the Australian-born employees were paid into their bank accounts and provided with pay slips.
Even so, it is also alleged that 10 of the Australian workers were underpaid a total of $6,252 as a result of the incorrect application of some provisions in the relevant award.
Miles Heffernan, Litigation Director at Industrial Relations Claims, said if proven, the underpayments were clearly discrimination.
“Not only have these employers allegedly ripped off their overseas workers, but they have deliberately singled them out, by paying them much less than their Aussie co-workers,” he said.
“That’s blatant discrimination – treating someone less favourably based on their race or nation of origin.
“The fact that these employers were paying two very different rates suggests they knew exactly what they were doing, and knew they were breaching workplace laws.”
Mr Kumarasamy and Mr Raghuram allegedly also gave inspectors falsified records of hours worked by the four overseas workers.
QHA Foods faces maximum penalties of up to $54,000 per breach and Mr Kumarasamy, Mr Raghuram face penalties of up to $10,800 per breach.
The matter is due for a hearing in the Federal Circuit Court on November 23.
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