Former Din Tai Fung operators fined $4 million for employment breaches

(Source: Din Tai Fung)

The former operators of three Din Tai Fung restaurants in Australia have been fined a combined $4 million for underpaying workers and using false records, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The Federal Court has imposed a $1.99 million penalty against DTF World Square, which employed workers at Din Tai Fung restaurants in the Sydney CBD, Chatswood and the Melbourne CBD. The court also placed a $1.89 million fine against Selden Farlane Lachlan Investments, which employed workers at the Melbourne location.

The two companies deliberately underpaid 17 employees $157,025 under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010, as well as kept and provided false records to Fair Work inspectors. The workers were mostly visa holders from Indonesia and China, mainly on student or employer-sponsored visas, and engaged in casual roles. 

The underpayment took place between November 2017 and June 2018, with the exception of one full-time employee who was underpaid for a longer period from July 2014 to May 2018, the Fair Work Ombudsman investigation shows.

Some wrongdoings met the definition of ‘serious contraventions’, which resulted in a tenfold increase in penalties.

In addition, former GM of DTF World Square Hannah Handoko and former HR coordinator of DTF World Square Sinthiana Parmenas were fined $92,232 and $105,084 respectively.

Justice Anna Katzmann found the two companies, with the involvement of senior management, “deliberately deprived the employees of their legislated entitlements and contrived to disguise their wrongdoing through the creation of a false set of records”.

“It was deceitful and unscrupulous. It involved a calculated scheme to rob employees of their hard-earned wages and deceive the authorities,” Katzmann added.

The total penalties are the second-highest ever secured by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

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