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Yogurberry To Face Court For Allegedly Rorting Korean Workers

The frozen yogurt chain is in trouble with the workplace regulator.

13/07/2016 5:47 PM AEST | Updated July 15, 2016 12:57
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Yogurberry is being accused of underpaying foreign workers.

You might think Yogurberry would be a great place to work with access to its "premium, real" frozen yogurt all day long.

But if the industrial watchdog is correct, you couldn't be more wrong.

The Fair Work Ombudsman revealed on Tuesday that the master franchisor of the chain in Australia has allegedly underpaid workers by thousands of dollars.

That's why the watchdog said it was taking YBF Australia to court, accusing it of short-changing four Korean workers almost $18,000.

Alleged individual underpayments ranged from $1926 to $6380, the ombudsman said.

"The agency today announced court proceedings against YBF Australia Pty Ltd, the master franchisor of Yogurberry in Australia," the ombudsman said.

The Koreans backpackers on 417 working holiday visas were allegedly paid just $8 an hour for training and then as low as an $11 an hour flat rate for shifts between July 2014 and May last year, totaling a whopping $17,827 underpayment.

They should have been paid between $14.82 and $18.52 an hour for ordinary hours under the relevant award.

The foreigners, aged 19 and 20, worked at a Yogurberry outlet at the World Square Shopping Centre in Sydney's CBD and it's alleged that YBF Australia Pty Ltd -- the master franchisor of Yogurberry in Australia -- formerly controlled the store through an associated company.

The watchdog believes the workers also failed to receive a special clothing allowance or superannuation entitlements and that 3 of them had "unlawful deductions made from their wages".

In addition, workplace laws relating to minimum shifts, classifications, record-keeping and pay-slips were allegedly also contravened.

It's not the first time the company has been in trouble and the ombudsman says it has probed a number of underpayment allegations dating back to 2013.

The employees have now been back-paid all entitlements, except for superannuation still owing to two workers, the ombudsman said.

Three companies face fines of between $25,500 and $51,000 for each breach of workplace laws. YBF Australia part-owner Soon Ok Oh is also facing legal action and fines, according to the ombudsman.

"The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking a court order requiring the companies to commission a professional external audit of all Yogurberry stores in Australia next year and to rectify any underpayments discovered," the ombudsman added.

"An Order requiring the companies to commission workplace relations training for managers is also being sought."

The matter will head to court in Sydney on July 26.

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