Wage Theft: Bars raided for suspected underpayments


Fair Work inspectors recently raided bars regarding wage theft

Fair Work inspectors recently raided bars along Melbourne’s popular Chapel Street after workers complained about alleged wage theft.

The bars targeted by the workplace watchdog are all owned by the La La Bar Group. They include Holy Grail, Electric, Wonderland, Jane Do Bar, Lucky Liquor and La La Land.

Audits the result of complaints

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According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, it received almost 20 complaints and six anonymous reports from workers. The workers claimed the businesses underpaid them on their hourly wages. They also failed to pay entitlements such as overtime and penalty rates.

In addition, some workers alleged payments in cash “off the books”.

Inspectors from Fair Work interviewed staff and management at the bars. While there, they reviewed documents including staff payslips, rosters, and employment records.

Fair Work Ombudsman vows to remedy wage theft

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the audits would uncover any breaches of workplace laws by the La La Bar Group.

“The intelligence we have received about potentially unlawful treatment of staff at the La La Bar Group is concerning which is why we have taken this action,” she said.

“If we do uncover breaches, we will work to recover any entitlements owed to staff and also consider what enforcement action is necessary.”

More audits needed

Miles Heffernan, Litigation Director at Industrial Relations Claims, welcomed the surprise audits by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

“We are greatly encouraged by the increase in proactive activity and enforcement action by the regulator since Ms. Parker has taken over as the Fair Work Ombudsman,” he said.

“We need more of these surprise audits when workers make complaints about wage theft, so greedy bosses get the message that if you rip off your workers, you are going to get caught.”

Fair Work will publish a report on the audit’s findings once they complete their investigations.

If you have experienced wage theft, please call Industrial Relations Claims for help on 1300 853 837.

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