Darwin Supermarket Faces Legal Action Over Alleged Wage Violations

The Fair Work Ombudsman has initiated legal proceedings against Om Shiva Foods Pty Ltd, which operates as Wulagi Supermarket in Darwin’s north, and its sole director, Vinay Madasu.

This action followed an investigation launched after a request from a casual retail worker from India, who was employed at the store from February 2020 to August 2021. In October 2022, the Ombudsman issued a Compliance Notice to the company, suspecting the employee was not paid the correct wages, including weekend and holiday rates, based on the General Retail Industry Awards of 2010 and 2020. It’s claimed the worker is owed over $68,000.

Om Shiva Foods allegedly did not adhere to the Compliance Notice requiring them to rectify the underpayment. Additionally, they are accused of not providing proper pay slips. Mr. Madasu is also believed to have played a part in these violations.

Anna Booth, the Fair Work Ombudsman, emphasised the importance of adhering to workplace laws and stated that businesses not abiding by lawful requests would face legal consequences. She added that the well-being of vulnerable workers, like visa holders, is a top priority. She encouraged workers with wage concerns to contact the Ombudsman for assistance.

The Ombudsman is seeking penalties in court. Om Shiva Foods could be fined up to $33,300 and Mr Madasu up to $6,660 for not complying with the Compliance Notice. Furthermore, the company might face an additional penalty of $66,600 and Mr Madasu up to $13,320 for not issuing proper pay slips. The Ombudsman also seeks full repayment of the alleged owed amount, including interest and superannuation.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Brisbane on 4 December 2023.

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