Meil Container operators face court over alleged underpayments
The two operating companies of the Miel Container stores in the Brisbane CBD and Sunnybank allegedly paid 11 overseas workers flat rates as low as $10 an hour, resulting in more than $155,000 in underpayments over a three year period.
Also facing Court is Brisbane man Sangmoon Na, the sole director of both companies and an owner of the stores, for allegedly being involved in some underpayments, as well as record-keeping and pay slip contraventions. His brother Sanghoon Na, an owner and manager of the Sunnybank outlet, will also face court for allegedly being involved in record-keeping contraventions.
Inspectors allegedly discovered that employees had not been paid any wages for up to seven days of work performed during “trial periods” and were then generally paid flat rates ranging from $10 to $16 an hour for all work performed. Under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 at the time, they were entitled to have been paid up to $20.61 per hour for ordinary hours.
Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah said legal action was taken because of the blatant nature of the alleged underpayments and the involvement of vulnerable overseas workers.
“We treat exploitation of overseas workers particularly seriously because we know they can be vulnerable if they are not fully aware of their rights, face language barriers or are reluctant to complain,” she said.
“We are committed to actively pursuing and holding to account any employer in Australia who thinks they can get away exploiting overseas workers.”
The companies face penalties of up to $54,000 per contravention, while Sangmoon Na and Sanghoon Na each face penalties of up to $10,800 per contravention. The Fair Work Ombudsman will also seek Court Orders for full back-payment of the employees, who have been only partially back-paid to date.