Brisbane Restaurant Owner To Face Court Over Alleged Underpayments

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25th March 2010, 11:00am - Views: 938

People Employment Fair Work Ombudsman 1 image

People Employment Fair Work Ombudsman 2 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 

Media Release

25 March 2010

Brisbane restaurant owner faces court over

alleged underpayment of workers

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched a prosecution against the former owner

of a Brisbane restaurant, alleging he was involved in the underpayment of two


Facing court is Erick Berges, who was the sole owner and a manager of the

Picasso Pizza and Pasta restaurant on Albert Street before it closed last year.   

Documents lodged in the Federal Magistrates Court in Brisbane allege Mr Berges

was involved in underpaying two employees at the restaurant a total of $15,322

between September, 2006 and January, 2008.

It is alleged that a kitchen hand employed on a casual basis was paid a flat rate

of just $10 an hour, resulting in underpayment of his minimum hourly rate, night

rates and public holiday rates. 

The man, aged in his 40s, was allegedly underpaid a total of $12,161.

It is also alleged a cook employed on a casual basis at the restaurant was

underpaid a total of $3161 as a result of his minimum hourly rate and overtime

being underpaid.

Fair Work Ombudsman Queensland Director Julie Wade says the decision to

prosecute Mr Berges was made because the alleged underpayments had not been

rectified and because low-paid, vulnerable workers were involved.

“Individual hand-shake agreements to pay workers below Award rates are not

legal,” Ms Wade said. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Mr Berges was involved in multiple breaches

of workplace laws. He faces a maximum potential penalty of $6600 per breach.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking an order for any penalty imposed on Mr

Berges to be paid to the allegedly underpaid workers. The case is listed for

mention on April 14.

The Fair Work Ombudsman promotes harmonious, productive and co-operative

workplaces. It also monitors compliance and investigates breaches of national

workplace laws.

Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline

on 13 13 94 or visit For translations call 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:  Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations.

0419 818 484.

Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser Media & Stakeholder Relations. (03) 9954

2561, 0434 365 924.

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