Adelaide couple accused of underpaying workers at two Vietnamese eateries

February 2, 2024by Naomi Cramer


An Adelaide couple will face the Federal Court after allegedly underpaying virtually 40 workers at their Vietnamese eating places a complete of greater than $400,000.

The Truthful Work Ombudsman commenced authorized motion towards the couple on Friday.

The pair function and handle two Vietnamese eateries — Mr Viet in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall and a meals court outlet within the Chinatown precinct.

Trustee for the Viet Quoc Mai family Belief, Viet Quoc Mai, and his spouse Huong Le, a supervisor at each the companies, allegedly underpaid 36 employees.

The workers have been principally Vietnamese worldwide college students aged below 25 years, they usually have been allegedly underpaid a complete of $407,546 between January 2018 and September 2021.

Mr Viet and Ms Le are accused of constructing deductions from workers wages for errors, together with “leaving a fridge open over the weekend”, “breaking a door” and “incorrectly charging a buyer”.

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The couple additionally allegedly used a “strike system” as punishment for making minor errors, forcing workers members to buy meals and/or drinks for them once they reached six “strikes”.

Mr Viet Eateries
Digital camera IconMr Viet is a restaurant in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall and a meals court outlet within the Chinatown precinct. Keryn Stevens Credit score: Information Corp Australia

It’s additional alleged employees’ wages have been paid utilizing two completely different hourly charges, a flat hourly fee of $15 cash-in-hand and a mix of a variable flat hourly fee to their financial institution accounts, ranging between $16 and $26.90.

“It’s alleged Mr Viet added up the variety of hours an worker labored within the fortnight and would pay some hours utilizing the financial institution switch fee, after which pay the employee money for the remaining hours within the pay interval,” the Truthful Work Ombudsman mentioned.

The staff concerned allege the underpayments vary from $74 to just about $60,000, with 15 workers allegedly underpaid by greater than $10,000.

It’s understood 5 of the employees have been junior workers members aged from 18 to twenty on the time.

“It’s alleged that Mr Viet’s data that he was contravening the provisions and that the conduct was a part of a scientific sample of conduct implies that a number of breaches meet the definition of ‘severe contraventions’ below the Truthful Work Act,” The Ombudsman mentioned.

Mr Viet can also be accused of offering inspectors with virtually 100 pay slips, which all failed to indicate money funds and in some circumstances, “confirmed employees has been paid increased charges and labored much less hours,” than in actuality.

The restaurant proprietor allegedly informed his workers to deceive inspectors and delete any proof of their supposed offending.

Truthful Work Inspectors uncovered the alleged underpayments of employees engaged in informal roles as kitchen attendants, customer support, bar and waitstaff roles when auditing each the eating places as a part of a collection of “shock inspections” throughout Adelaide in April 2021.

“The litigation highlighted that any people or corporations who allegedly commit severe contraventions might be discovered and known as out,” Truthful Work Ombudsman Anna Sales space mentioned.

Mr Viet Eateries
Digital camera IconWorkers have been allegedly underpaid a complete of $407,546 between January 2018 and September 2021. Keryn Stevens Credit score: Information Corp Australia

“The alleged systemic sample and deliberate nature of the underpayments, offering of false data to frustrate an investigation, and the numerous variety of breaches on this matter are alarming.

“Employers who allegedly exploit their employees and try and mislead inspectors might be discovered and threat going through vital penalties.

“Employers must also bear in mind that taking motion to guard susceptible employees and bettering compliance within the quick meals, restaurant and cafe sector are prime priorities for the Truthful Work Ombudsman.

“We deal with circumstances involving the underpayment of migrant and younger employees significantly critically, as a result of they are often susceptible as a result of components akin to a ignorance of their entitlements and a reluctance to complain.”

For the intense contraventions, Mr Viet and Ms Le every face penalties of as much as $126,000 or $133,200 per contravention and for all different alleged contraventions, the pair face penalties of as much as $12,600 or $13,320 every per contravention.

The Ombudsman is looking for a court order which would require Mr Viet to rectify the underpayments.



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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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