Top Juice outlets audited for compliance

By Nick Hall | 12 Nov 2019 View comments

Juice and smoothie franchise Top Juice has come under the microscope, after the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) conducted a series of surprise audits at outlets across the country.

The Top Juice audits reportedly come in the wake of ongoing anonymous requests for assistance from employees. According to the FWO, investigators were acting on allegations of staff underpayment, failure to provide work breaks and proper payslips, along with poor record keeping.

If found guilty of the Fair Work Act breaches, both operators at each of the Top Juice outlets and the franchisor would be liable for considerable penalties.

Sandra Parker, Fair Work Ombudsman said the surprise audits were a reminder that the regulator was still firmly focused on improving compliance within the fast food, restaurant and café sector.

“Our intelligence indicates that high numbers of migrant workers, international students and young people are employed at Top Juice outlets, who may be unaware of their workplace rights or unable to speak up due to concerns about their visa status,” Parker said.

“Our inspectors are on the ground to gather further information about Top Juice’s operations and determine if there are any breaches of workplace laws. Our priority is to ensure that all staff are receiving the wages and entitlements they are provided under the law.”

Top Juice compliance

While Top Juice currently has its compliance standards under review, it isn’t the only brand to face scrutiny in recent times. Franchise café chain The Coffee Club received similar attention earlier this year, with pizza chain Crust coming under fire for migrant worker underpayment.

Parker said the recent market conditions had reaffirmed the FWO’s emphasis on improving workplace law compliance in the hospitality industry. While only accounting for seven per cent of the labour force, the industry accounted for 17 per cent of all disputes the FWO assisted with and 36 per cent of all anonymous reports received in the last financial year.

“All workers in Australia have the same rights at work and we encourage workers with concerns about their pay to get in touch with the Fair Work Ombudsman,” Parker said.

The FWO is urging all employers and employees to regularly review their operation standards, even introducing a series of interactive tools to help streamline the process.