Alleged work exploitation at Tina’s Noodle Kitchen and Dainty Sichuan

Tina’s Noodle Kitchen in Box Hill and Dainty Sichuan in Melbourne’s CBD have allegedly underpaid a total of 30 employees over a two-week period, following an investigation by Fair Work inspectors.

In a press release issued by the Fair Work Ombudsman, the investigation claimed that 17 employees at Dainty Sichuan were underpaid a total of $18,190 while 13 employees at Tina’s Noodle Kitchen were underpaid a total of $12,805. Employees affected included overseas workers and those on student visas.

Employees were allegedly paid flat rates ranging from $10 to $22 an hour, despite some employees working six or seven days a week, and more than ten hours per day.

Under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010, employees were allegedly entitled to penalty rates of more than $40 for some hours.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the restaurants’ owner-operator, Ye Shao, and his companies, Nine Dragons Pty Ltd and Wynn Sichuan Pty Ltd. The companies’ in-house accountant Yizhu ‘Jessica’ Ding will also be facing court as an alleged accessory to underpayment and record keeping contraventions.

Mr Shao and Ms Ding face maximum penalties of up to $10,800 per contravention. Mr Shao’s companies, Nine Dragons Pty Ltd and Wynn Sichuan Pty Ltd, face penalties of up to $54,000 per contravention.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne on August 28, 2017.

Both companies have already commenced back-paying the employees.

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