Degani café facing Court for underpaying workers and keeping false records

Degani café in Melbourne's north-east and Degani Bakery Café in Mornington, south of Melbourne, are being prosecuted by the Fair Work Ombudsman for underpaying workers.

The operator of the Degani café in Melbourne's north-east is facing Court after he allegedly used false records to conceal more than $12,000 in underpayments of staff.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against Greenvale man Sajid Amin, who manages and part-owns the Degani outlet at Greensborough.

Also facing Court is a company Mr Amin is a director of, SHMAP Group Pty Ltd, which holds a franchise agreement for the outlet with Degani Bakery Café Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Degani Australia Pty Ltd.

It is alleged Mr Amin and SHMAP Group underpaid 15 employees at the Degani outlet in Greensborough a total of $12,506 over a period of nine weeks between September and November 2016.

It is alleged that the largest individual underpayment was of a 19-year-old employee who was paid rates as low as $15 an hour despite at the time being entitled to base rates including casual loading of $20.09, weekend rates of up to $24.11 and up to $40.18 on public holidays.

It is alleged that Mr Amin and SHMAP Group also contravened workplace laws by creating false or misleading records and providing them to the Fair Work Ombudsman during its investigation.

It is alleged Mr Amin asked the 19-year-old employee who was underpaid the largest individual amount to sign blank timesheets, before making false entries in the timesheets, understating the number of hours the employee had worked.

It is also alleged that Mr Amin asked another worker to falsely record hours that he had performed on Australia Day and Labour Day on alternative days which did not attract public holiday penalty rates.

The Fair Work Ombudsman discovered the alleged underpayments during a proactive audit activity involving 14 Degani branded cafes in and around Melbourne and two at Rockhampton, in Queensland.

The audits focused on cafes operated under franchisee or licensee arrangements and checked whether workers were being paid their lawful minimum entitlements.

SHMAP Group Pty Ltd faces maximum penalties of up to $54,000 per contravention and Mr Amin faces maximum penalties of up to $10,800 per contravention.

In addition, the Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking Court orders for SHMAP Group to commission an audit of its compliance with workplace laws and to commission workplace relations training for managerial staff.

The Degani Bakery Café in Mornington, south of Melbourne, has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking after the Fair Work Ombudsman's compliance activity found it guilty of underpaying staff almost $10,000.

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