Brewery startup apologises for short-changing worker

RedDot Brewhouse has apologised for underpaying a Filipino welder who worked on the construction of its new Melbourne brewery, which began operation last year.

An investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman found the worker was underpaid a total of $20,260 between March 2 and May 23, 2015.

He was paid nothing at all for almost half the hours he worked as well as missing out on overtime, penalty rates and annual leave entitlements.

RedDot founder Kah Hoe (Ernest) Ng told the FWO that he did not pay the worker for the additional hours because his work was “disappointing and slow” and the employee “was not competent”.

The Fair Work Ombudsman took action against the company through an Enforceable Undertaking.

This required Ng to write a letter of apology to the employee and back-pay him all outstanding wages and entitlements.

“RedDot Brewhouse Pty Ltd express its sincere regret and apologises to you for failing to comply with our lawful obligations,” the letter says.

Ng told Australian Brews Newshe is prevented by the undertakingfrom making any further comment.

He will also make a $500 donation to the Migrante-North Association of Filipino Migrant & Workers Inc to fund education about workplace rights.

Craft Beer Industry Association executive officer Chris McNamara told Australian Brews News: “We expect everybody to be operating within the law and we would hope that all employees would be fairly compensated.”

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said inspectors are increasingly finding employers from non-English speaking backgrounds who have little or no understanding of their workplace obligations or the seriousness of their non-compliant behaviour.

“Anyone establishing a business, including migrant employers, needs to ensure they take the time to understand our workplace laws applicable to their business,” she says.

“Migrant employers simply cannot undercut the minimum lawful entitlements of their employees based on what they think the job may be worth, what the employee is happy to accept, what other businesses are paying or what the job may pay in their country of origin.

“There are minimum pay rates, they apply to everyone – including visa-holders – and they are not negotiable for any reason.”

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