A Pizza Hut franchisee on the Gold Coast has been fined over $216,000 after exploiting an Indian delivery driver under a sham contract.
It’s understood the Gold Coast man, who owns and operates the Pizza Hut franchise outlet at Upper Coomera, also used false records to try to cover it up.
He was busted following an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman, which found the man had conned the delivery driver into believing he was an independent contractor, rather than an employee.
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“The franchisee asked the delivery driver to provide an Australian Business Number and then treated him as an independent contractor between November 2015 and May 2016, paying him a flat rate of no more than $16 an hour,” The Ombudsman said in a statement.
“However, as an employee rather than an independent contractor, the worker was entitled to receive at least $20.36 for ordinary hours and up to $40.72 for overtime and public holiday work under the Pizza Hut enterprise agreement that applied to the business.
“He was also underpaid a per-delivery entitlement, superannuation and a uniform allowance.”
The driver, an Indian national aged in his 20s, was in Australia as a dependent on his wife’s international student visa at the time.
“According to the evidence, he was the sole breadwinner for he and his wife and was responsible for their daily living expenses, rent, groceries and his wife’s tuition fees,” Federal Circuit Court Judge Michael Jarrett said in this ruling.
“Partly as a result of being underpaid, he needed to borrow about $1,500 from his cousin in Melbourne and about $20,000 from his father in India, which he says was culturally shameful and embarrassing.”
The driver has since been back-paid in full.