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Holy Grail Fined for Underpaying Staff

By Clown Killer - 18 June 2008 25

Local ABC radio (666) is reporting that The Holy Grail bars in Kingston and Civic have been fined $30,000 by the Office of the Workplace Ombudsman for underpaying their junior staff. There’s nothing on the WPO website in terms of a press release as yet.

It’s kind of poignant really, given the sometimes robust discussion on a parallel thread about the merits or otherwise of tipping wait-staff.  Maybe we’re at the top of that ‘slippery slope’ some have talked about – were the Holy Grails owners underpaying simply because they thought that they could get away with it? I would have imagined with a fine of that size it wouldn’t have been a strict liability offence so a little incompetent book-keeping is unlikely to have been the cause.

When it comes to tipping, the comparisons with the US are easily made, but it’s kind of comforting to know that when push comes to shove, we have systems that provide protections for workers.

What’s Your opinion?

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25 Responses to
Holy Grail Fined for Underpaying Staff
tylersmayhem 5:19 pm 18 Jun 08

I think that if you’re getting under paid, do something about it – or leave. I’ve been in that circumstance on more than one occasion. Once in hospitality and once in the cinema industry (2 points for who can guess the company for that one). In hospitality I argued the point and made it clear I knew what was going on. They paid up, but didn’t back pay the 2 weeks additional they owed. I took that on the chin. The cinema company grossly under paid ALL staff, and part of my job was to make the jnr staff stay back (often up to 1 hour) to keep cleaning while their parents waited in the car. I left as soon as I was aware what was going on, and as soon as I found another job back in hospitality.

The choice to stick around and cop it, or to find another job elsewhere is (often) in your hands.

RuffnReady 5:15 pm 18 Jun 08

Just a note about tipping – minimum wages in Oz are at least double the US, so it’s unjustified unless you want to reward good service. Min wage for staff in the US ranges from $5.15-$8 an hour depending on the State, federal min wage is $5.85.

So, as you can see, those people who work min wage jobs need the tips JUST TO SURVIVE. Here, the minimum wage for unskilled labour is $13.74/hr.

I know this story was about underagers, just making a point that you can’t compare Oz and the US when it comes to tipping.

realityskin 4:31 pm 18 Jun 08
astrojax 4:27 pm 18 Jun 08

it is molly meldrum, just not molly meldrum. do yaselves a favour and wake up, australia.

someone shoot him.

Mr Evil 4:23 pm 18 Jun 08

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke. I hope it really hurts him to have to pay up, after all, this is the same fool who came out with this statement:

““You can’t have a Down syndrome person serving tables – as cruel as it sounds – because you can’t have someone dribbling saliva over people who are eating.””

(taken from –

madman 4:22 pm 18 Jun 08

Yeah it’s not Molly Meldrum….

Sorry to get your hopes up!

GuruJ 4:09 pm 18 Jun 08

Er, perhaps previous comments have been tongue in cheek, but I’m pretty sure that this is a different Ian Meldrum.

shiny flu 4:06 pm 18 Jun 08

Back when Academy was new and I was bartending, some staff were being grossly underpaid. How about $10 per hour weeknight for working 12-6am?

Uncle Nicky who owns Bike Superstore is also an excellent man for underpaying staff. One of my friends got his $7,000 of unpaid wages… like drawing blood from a greedy greek stone.

Good to hear that the Grail is getting what’s due, and hopefully then some.

Thumper 3:09 pm 18 Jun 08

Good to see that someone is looking after the little people…

Clown Killer 1:59 pm 18 Jun 08

Thanks for posting the updated information madman.

Morgan 1:39 pm 18 Jun 08

Well there you go, and thats where you are.

Skidbladnir 1:32 pm 18 Jun 08

The Holy Grails are owned by Ian “Molly” Meldrum.

madman 1:31 pm 18 Jun 08

“Canberra’s Holy Grail restaurant/bars have been fined almost $30,000 for breaches of workplace relations laws.

The Federal Magistrate’s Court has imposed the penalty against companies Squaw Valley Pty Ltd and Telluride Pty Ltd, which run the Kingston and Civic premises. The sole director of both is Ian Meldrum.

The ruling is in addition to more than $80,000 Meldrum’s companies have been ordered to backpay 141 employees.

Investigations by the Workplace Ombudsman in 2006 uncovered 24 breaches of the Workplace Relations Act and the Liquor and Allied Industries Catering, Café, Restaurant Etc (ACT) Award.

They included underpayment of wages, overtime, pro-rata holiday pay, casual, penalty and public holiday and weekend rates.

Workplace Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says the long-running case highlights the determination of the office to ensure worker entitlements are upheld.

While awaiting the court’s decision on penalties, the Workplace Ombudsman took further legal action in March this year after Squaw Valley and Telluride failed to fully comply with court orders last September requiring them to reimburse outstanding underpaid employees.

Mr Campbell said he was disappointed the companies did not co-operate and the imposition of a $29,400 penalty plus $4000 costs should serve as a reminder that employers must always comply with their obligations.”

Morgan 1:27 pm 18 Jun 08

What does Molly Meldrum have to do with it?

Roadrage77 12:07 pm 18 Jun 08

I feel like a fool for ever thinking Molly Meldrum was a good bloke.

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