News

Alleged exploitation: Sushi operator facing court

FEDERAL legal proceedings have begun against a former Ballina sushi shop owner.

It is alleged three employees were underpaid while working at the Ballina Sushi Kuni between January and August 2015. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman released a statement saying they had commenced legal proceedings against the sushi-outlet operator, alleging he exploited Korean workers and provided false records to the FWO.

Dai Il Kang is facing the Federal Circuit Court as part of the proceedings against Ballina One Sushi Pty Ltd (in liquidation), the company which formerly owned the Sushi Kuni outlet at Ballina. 

Mr Kang no longer operates the Sushi Kuni outlet in Ballina, which was bought by new owners last year.

He also faces the court as the sole director and shareholder of EJ Group International Pty Ltd, who own the Sushi Kuni outlet at Redcliffe in Brisbane.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges five employees at the two outlets were underpaid $28,615.

Four of the workers were aged 26 or younger.

Four of the employees were Korean nationals who spoke limited English and were in Australia on student and 417 working holiday visas at the time.

The other employee was an Australian citizen.

It is alleged that during a self-initiated audit, Fair Work Ombudsman inspectors discovered that two Korean employees and one Australian employee at the Ballina outlet were allegedly paid flat rates of pay between $120-$160 per day and were underpaid a total of $19,308 between January and August, 2015

After receiving requests for assistance from workers, it is alleged that inspectors also discovered that two Korean employees at the Redcliffe outlet had been paid flat rates and underpaid a total of $10,312 between December, 2015 and March, 2016.

The employees were allegedly paid flat rates ranging from $120 to $160 per day, which resulted in underpayment of the minimum hourly rates, weekend penalty rates, overtime rates and casual loadings they were entitled to under the Restaurant Industry Award.

Some of the employees were allegedly also underpaid annual leave entitlements.

EJ Group International Pty Ltd is alleged to have underpaid the employees even after inspectors informed Mr Kang of his obligations and put him on notice to comply as part of their audit into the company which operated the Ballina outlet.

It is also alleged that during the investigation, Mr Kang and his company knowingly provided inspectors with false time-and-wages records.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says legal action has been commenced because of the involvement of vulnerable workers and the seriousness of the alleged conduct.

"Employers should be aware that we treat exploitation of overseas workers particularly seriously," Ms James said.

Mr Kang faces maximum penalties of up to $10,800 per contravention and EJ Group International Pty Ltd faces penalties of up to $54,000 per contravention for a number of alleged contraventions of the Fair Work Act.

In addition to the penalties, the Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking Court Orders requiring Mr Kang and his company to make back-payments to workers and to register with the Fair Work Ombudsman's My Account portal and complete all education courses for employers.

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Topics:  ballina court exploited workers fair work ombudsman northern rivers crime sushi underpaid


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Council ski jump vote 'small victory' for residents

CONTROVERSIAL: A digital image of the proposed Lake Ainsworth Olympic ski jump facility provided by the NSW Office of Sport.

Councillors vote 8-0 not to support development application

LGBQTI* community takes part in marriage equality action

VOTING FOR CHANGE: Maude Boate will be at the the marriage equality action at Lismore City Hall.

Lismore calls for awareness on marriage equality

Woman felt 'dirty, ashamed' over partner's abuse

Lismore Court House. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

"I thought I was going to lose my life to this person"

Local Partners

Mandy and Ellen will be just women like us in Nimbin

HIT comedy show heading towards Nimbin.

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

US model Bella Hadid attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2017 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 25 May 2017.

It’s like she’s become addicted to shock value.

No room for morbid fans

Chris Cornell.

Fans want to stay in the hotel room where Chris Cornell died

Star Wars' 1977 Stormtrooper head banger confesses

A Stormtrooper is responsible for the biggest blunder in a Star Wars movie. Picture: Supplied

Man in most famous blooper in Star Wars history breaks silence

Felix Riebl wants to be in your arms

TOURING NOW: Australian musician Felix Riebl is coming to the Northern Rivers in June.

Cat Empire frontman brings out his romantic side in solo show

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!