Holy Grail Fined for Underpaying Staff

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.

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25 Responses to Holy Grail Fined for Underpaying Staff
transaustralia transaustralia 1:12 am 14 Jul 08

Such companies should be criminally liable for such conduct. I’m sure they would demand nothing less if somebody tried to get out the door with a couple of items of the glassware under their coat.

These companies make some of the most remorseless defendants in the legal system, they lie, cheat, never apologize and probably right now their attitude is probably its just bad luck we got caught.

tylersmayhem tylersmayhem 12:41 pm 19 Jun 08

I think my comments have been misconstrued as to thinking it’s “okay” that what the Holy Grail has done, and many other business are doing. I agree that award pay is the law, and business owners should be held 100% accountable! I never supported the view that “awards are not ’suggestions’ or ‘agreements'”.

Mike Crowther, please don’t jump to these conclusions! I am simply giving another slant, and my experience as to how I have treated the problem on more that one occasion.

Mr Evil Mr Evil 12:06 pm 19 Jun 08

Does this mean Mr Meldrum would be happy to let me pay less than his listed prices for the food and drink served in his premises – if I ever bothered to go to either of his dumps?

I mean, surely his prices are only a guideline, and are not legally binding in any way?

Clown Killer Clown Killer 11:46 am 19 Jun 08

My own small contribution will be to avoid patronising this business.

Mike Crowther Mike Crowther 11:33 am 19 Jun 08

tylersmahem, awards are not ‘suggestions’ or ‘agreements’, they are law. No different to health regulations. Should a business owner be able to serve up dog food and if the customer doesn’t like it they can ‘go somewhere else’? Perhaps stealing from ones employer should just be a private matter and if the boss doesn’t like it, they can employ someone else.

People who underpay staff are cheating other business owners who obey the law and damaging the fabric of our community. I think given the end result of this kind of behavior, Holy Grail got off very lightly.

toriness toriness 9:21 am 19 Jun 08

i wish i had gone to uni here, every second store in civic (it seems!) has a ‘position vacant’ sign in the window!!!

toriness toriness 9:20 am 19 Jun 08

considering the employment stats for canberra say that we have negative unemployment ie more vacancies than unemployed people – i find it amazing that anyone would work somewhere where they were getting ripped off.

ant ant 10:26 pm 18 Jun 08

Sepi’s right. What are they going to do for a reference, for one thing? That’s the first thing most employers want. All people should have to spend time in a kitchen, or retail shop, or small business, where the boss isn’t a saint and is capricious, weird or just a mongrel, and then mouth glib sanctimonies like that. It’s not that easy for a very many people.

sepi sepi 8:57 pm 18 Jun 08

It is the most vulnerable people that these laws try to protect. Those who have managed to snag a menial job, and would have trouble getting another one.

It’s not always as easy as ‘just get a better job then.’

Pandy Pandy 6:47 pm 18 Jun 08

Molly got shafted.

tylersmayhem 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 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 realityskin 4:31 pm 18 Jun 08
astrojax 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 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 – http://the-riotact.com/?p=7157)

madman madman 4:22 pm 18 Jun 08

Yeah it’s not Molly Meldrum….

Sorry to get your hopes up!

GuruJ 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 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 Thumper 3:09 pm 18 Jun 08

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

Clown Killer Clown Killer 1:59 pm 18 Jun 08

Thanks for posting the updated information madman.

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