FWO takes ex-La Porchetta franchisee to court

By Sarah Stowe | 16 Apr 2021 View comments

An ex-La Porchetta franchisee is being hauled before the Federal Circuit Court for alleged workplace breaches.

Facing court is Little Italy Wagga Wagga Pty Ltd, the former franchisee for the outlet until the franchise agreement ended last year.

An employee alerted the Fair Work Ombudsman to concerns about being underpaid annual leave entitlements when she left the business.

The FWO alleges the company was issued with a Compliance Notice but failed to execute on its requirements: to calculate and back-pay the worker’s outstanding entitlements.

The regulator made several attempts to encourage voluntary compliance before taking legal action.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said it would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.

“Compliance Notices are important tools used by inspectors to deal with apparent contraventions of the Fair Work Act or industrial instruments, most typically Modern Awards,” she said.

“Where employers do not respond to or comply with these Notices, we will take appropriate enforcement action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties for not complying with such a Notice, in addition to back-paying workers as appropriate.”

Little Italy Wagga Wagga Pty Ltd faces a potential penalty of up to $33,300.

The regulator is also seeking a court order for the company to rectify the alleged underpayment for the employee, plus interest.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne on 17 May 2021.