Melbourne bakery fined for exploiting migrant Indian

The fines were levied on Gothic Downs Pty Ltd and its director Giuseppe Conforto.

A court in Melbourne, Australia decided on a hefty penalty against the operators of a retail bakery that has outlets at several shopping malls across the city. The decision came after the court viewed the evidence and concluded that the company “took advantage” of an Indian migrant worker’s vulnerability.

Gothic Downs Pty Ltd., the operators of Bakers Boutique & Patisserie retail bakery outlets have been asked to shell out a total of AUD$60,480 in court penalties by the Federal Circuit and Family Court. Out of the decided amount, AUD$ 50,400 is to be paid by the operating company, and the company’s director Giuseppe Conforto is required to pay the remaining AUD$ 10,080.


The penalties were secured by the Fair Work Ombudsman. The organization provides education, assistance, advice, and guidance to employers, employees, out workers, outworking entities and organizations. They also promote and monitor compliance with workplace laws, and inquire into and investigate breaches of the Fair Work Act.

The fines were imposed after Gothic Downs ignored the compliance notices and failed to calculate the back-pay entitlements of two workers employed at the bakery’s two outlets in Meadow Heights and Caroline Springs between 2016 and 2018. Conforto was aware of the non-compliance, a press release by Fair Work Ombudsman said. The company back-paid the workers only after further legal action commenced.

One of the workers was a female from India, living and working in the continent on a temporary work-skilled visa sponsored by Gothic Downs. The compliance notices were issued after a Fair Work inspector formed a belief that Gothic Downs had underpaid the workers’ minimum wages, early morning shift rates, weekend and public holiday penalty rates, leave entitlements, and overtime rates under the General Retail Industry Award 2010 and Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

The presiding judge found that the breaches were deliberate and dismissed the company’s claims that they were confused about how much they owed the workers. “To my mind, the respondents’ protestations ring hollow, in circumstances where they did not pay even the minimum amounts that they conceded were owing until long after the compliance notices required rectification,” the judge said, adding that the penalties were needed to be provided with an “adequate deterrent” for Gothic Downs and other companies who engaged in such behaviour.

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