Young Taiwanese students who worked in Sydney, at 85 Degrees café were allegedly underpaid under the guise of a purported internship arrangement.
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has commenced legal action in the Federal Court against the café brand.
The FWO alleges that Taiwanese company Comestibles Master Co Ltd (the franchisor of the 85 Degrees café brand in Taiwan), underpaid eight students a total of $429, 393.18 over a period of 12 months.
“All franchisors setting up operations in Australia must abide by our laws and pay the lawful minimum pay rates that apply to all workers, regardless of nationality or visa status,” says FWO, Sandra Parker.
Ms Parker says that the FWO have free resources, in which employees and employers should turn to, to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the regulations.
The FWO is seeking a court order requiring the companies to rectify the alleged underpayments in full.
Comestibles Masters Co Ltd and 85 Degrees Coffee Australia Pty Ltd face penalties of up to $54,000 per contravention for multiple alleged contraventions of workplace laws.
“Any workers with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us,” says Ms Parker.
A full list of contraventions involved in this case, can be read on the FWO page.