Employer fined $51K over breaches

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A restaurant chain with locations across the country has been fined $51,000 after it was found to have breached employment law on multiple occasions.

Shamiana Limited and Shamiana Enterprises Limited – both of which have Satish Shetty as the sole director and shareholder – were reprimanded over complaints which date back to 2015.

Following complaints received by the Labour Inspectorate, it was found that Shetty failed to pay staff minimum wage and holiday pay, as well as keep correct employment agreements.

Despite arrears of $24,000 previously being paid to employees, and corrective action taken to adhere to the Inspectorate’s improvement notice, breaches continued to occur.

“The continuous nature of these breaches, despite remediation at the time, shows that Mr Shetty wasn’t taking his obligations as an employer of 120 staff seriously,” said Labour Inspectorate regional manager, David Milne.

“It was surprising that even after several complaints to the Inspectorate; Mr Shetty was not deterred from underpaying his staff,” he continued. “One of the breaches uncovered was for unpaid work trials for staff – a practise that’s illegal under New Zealand employment law.”

These repeat breaches meant that Shamiana Limited was ordered to pay $33,000 and Shamiana Enterprises Limited was ordered to pay $18,000.

“Employers should understand that the Inspectorate follows up earlier non-compliance with a zero-tolerance approach,” said Milne.

“Additional strong penalties will be sought where any ongoing non-compliance is found,” he continued. “Not only is underpayment and mistreatment at the detriment of employees, it also gives companies an unfair commercial advantage over their law-abiding competitors.”

 

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