The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a penalty in the Federal Circuit Court against the former operator of a Gold Coast restaurant.

The Federal Circuit Court has imposed a penalty of $3396.60 against Mr Seouk Woong Hong, who formerly operated a Korean restaurant trading as Sogongdong Tofu House at Southport.

The penalty was imposed in response to Mr Hong being involved in failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring the back-payment of entitlements to three former employees at the restaurant.

The Court made orders allowing the penalty to be paid to the three former employees to partially rectify the underpayments, which remain outstanding.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said individual business operators involved in failing to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face court-imposed penalties.

“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” Mr Campbell said.

“Improving compliance in the restaurant, café and fast food sector will remain a key priority for the Fair Work Ombudsman throughout 2021-22.”

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated after receiving requests for assistance from former employees at Sogongdong Tofu House.

A Fair Work Inspector issued the Compliance Notice in May 2020 after forming a belief that the three former employees, all food and beverage attendants, had been underpaid their entitlements under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010.

The inspector believed the employees had been underpaid their minimum wage rates, casual loadings and penalty rates for weekend and public holiday for short periods of work performed between June and October 2019.

The three employees were Korean workers on working holiday visas, aged 21 to 22, at the time.

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