Former operator of Indian restaurant faces legal action for exploiting students

 A dish advertised by Punjabi Tandoori Corner
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the former operator of an Indian restaurant in Richmond, suburban Melbourne.

Hari Pal, who once ran Konna Indian Restaurant which was later renamed Punjabi Tandoori Corner, is facing a penalty of up to $10,200 and his company RS & JS Pty Ltd of up to $51,000, a Fair Work press statement said today.

Mr Pal and his company allegedly employed two Indian students at the flat rate of $12 an hour – without penalties for night, weekend or even public holidays.

This is not the first time Indian and Nepalese students have been taken advantage of by restaurant owners.

The two students were short-changed $5395 and $2687 for which the Ombudsman issued a Compliance Notice to RS & JS Pty Ltd to give the company a chance to rectify the underpayment. However, Mr Pail did not act on the notice issued last October, it is understood.

“We will always look to work with employers to resolve issues co-operatively and voluntarily where we can, but we take a dim view of employers who do not engage with us and deliberately ignore us and their workplace obligations,” Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie Jenkins said in the press release.

She says the employer’s failure to respond to the Compliance Notice and the involvement of vulnerable overseas workers were factors in the Agency’s decision to litigate, the workplace watchdog added.

The two students worked at the restaurant from October 2014 to January 2015.

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