Crust Pizza franchisee fined for underpaying employee by more than $30,000

File photo Source: AAP

The former operator of a Melbourne Crust Pizza franchise has been ordered to pay $75,400 in penalties after underpaying seven employees.

A former Melbourne Crust Pizza franchisee is facing penalties of $75,400 after underpaying seven employees and providing false records to Fair Work inspectors.

One of the seven employees was underpaid by $30,416 over the four years from 2013-2016.

The employee was paid below the minimum hourly rates listed in the Fast Food Industry Award, and also missed out on full penalty rates for night, weekend and public holiday work, as well as a special clothing allowance.

Desire Food Pty Ltd, which used to operate the Cheltenham Crust Pizza outlet in Victoria, was also found to have underpaid six other workers between $77 and $2481. All employees have now received the pay they were owed.

Six of the seven underpaid employees were migrant workers from non-English speaking backgrounds, a demographic that is particularly vulnerable to exploitation in the hospitality industry.

Earlier this month, another Crust Pizza franchise in Hobart was ordered to pay $104,000 after deliberately underpaying four migrant workers.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker encouraged any migrant workers who believe they are facing workplace exploitation to seek help.

"All employees have the right to be paid the lawful minimum pay rates that apply in Australia, regardless of their visa status," she said.

"Any workers with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman. We have an agreement with the Department of Home Affairs where workers can contact us for assistance without fear of their visa being cancelled."

The Migrant Workers Centre in Victoria helps migrant workers understand their rights and address problems they encounter in the workplace.

The Migrant Employment Legal Service also provides free legal advice and representation for migrant workers in NSW who are concerned about issues in their workplace.

If you or someone you know are concerned about potential underpayment in your workplace, the Fair Work Ombudsman has a range of resources available to help. You can find resources specifically designed to assist young workers at the Fair Work website, or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice.

You can also make an anonymous report about any workplace concerns using the FWO Anonymous Report tool.

Unions NSW also partners with the Immigration Advice and Rights Centre (IARC) to help address the workplace exploitation crisis faced by migrants, foreign students, and refugees in Australia. Find out more here.

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