The Fair Work Ombudsman has started legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against the former operator of the Farmers Arms Hotel Newry in Victoria.

The FWO alleges former operator Yorktor Pty Ltd and its sole director, Gary Williams, breached the Fair Work Act by failing to rectify underpayment of wages to a casual employee between 2015 and 2018.

Fair Work Inspectors commenced an investigation at the hotel last year after receiving several requests for assistance from the employee.

They discovered the employee had been underpaid minimum wages and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and evening work under the Hospitality Industry (General) Award (2010).

Inspectors issued Yorktor Pty Ltd with a Compliance Notice requiring it to rectify the alleged underpayments, but the company failed to do so.

The FWO is seeking penalties against Yorktor Pty Ltd and Williams. The company faces a maximum penalty of $31,500, while the director faces a maximum penalty of $6,300.

The ombudsman is also seeking a court order requiring the parties to take the action required by the compliance notice, including calculating any underpayments and rectifying them in full, plus superannuation and interest.

A directions hearing has been listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne for February 24, 2020.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker says compliance notices are an important tool to recover unpaid wages, and they will be enforced where they are not followed.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman will continue to use all its enforcement tools to ensure employers meet their lawful obligations,” she said.

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