Employees underpaid $2.6m by MasterChef judge and celebrity chef George Calombaris

MasterChef judge and celebrity chef George Calombaris has been found guilty of underpaying his restaurants' employees up to $2.6m. After an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Payroll errors dating back six years were identified. With 162 of his employees found to be short-changed, including staff at his Melbourne restaurants The Press Club, Gazi and Hellenic Republic. Staff members have since been repaid an average of more than $16,000.

Calombaris, who is the MAdE Establishment Group's director and founder, said his company had not adequately managed its enormous growth over the past six years. Chief executive of MAdE Establishment Troy McDonagh, who was appointed in October, blamed a mix-up in how overtime was calculated.

Money owed to existing staff has since been back-paid.

Former staff who may have been affected by the error have been encouraged to contact the company.

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