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Om Shiva Foods in court for allegedly underpaying worker

The Fair Work Ombudsman has taken legal action against Om Shiva Foods Pty Ltd, operating as Wulagi Supermarket, and its sole director, Vinay Madasu, in Darwin's northern region.

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The Fair Work Ombudsman has taken legal action against Om Shiva Foods Pty Ltd, operating as Wulagi Supermarket, and its sole director, Vinay Madasu, in Darwin’s northern region. The action comes after an investigation sparked by a request for assistance from a casual retail assistant, a visa holder from India, who was employed at the supermarket from February 2020 to August 2021.

The investigation led a Fair Work Inspector to issue a Compliance Notice to Om Shiva Foods in October 2022. The notice was issued due to the belief that the worker had been underpaid minimum wages, as well as penalty and overtime rates for working weekends and public holidays, all of which were owed under the General Retail Industry Award 2010 and General Retail Industry Award 2020. The alleged underpayment amounts to more than $68,000.

It is further alleged that Om Shiva Foods failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required them to calculate and back-pay the worker’s entitlements, without reasonable excuse. Additionally, a breach of pay slip laws is being alleged, with Mr. Madasu reportedly being involved in these contraventions.

Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth emphasised the regulator’s commitment to enforcing workplace laws, stating, “Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers.”

Booth also stressed the priority of protecting vulnerable workers like visa holders, encouraging any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements to contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance.

In the court proceedings, the Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking penalties. Om Shiva Foods could face a penalty of up to $33,300, while Mr. Madasu faces a penalty of up to $6,660 for the alleged failure to comply with the Compliance Notice. In addition, Om Shiva Foods faces a penalty of up to $66,600, and Mr. Madasu faces a penalty of up to $13,320 for the alleged failure to issue pay slips. The regulator is also seeking an order for the company to rectify the alleged underpayment amount in full, along with interest and superannuation.

A directions hearing for this case is scheduled to take place at the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Brisbane on 4 December 2023.

For free advice and assistance regarding workplace rights and obligations, both employers and employees can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline at 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available at 13 14 50.

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