Auckland liquor store ordered to cough up over $97,000 for underpaying 'vulnerable' workers

Liquor store.
Clevedon Rd Liquor. Photo credit: Google

A liquor store in Auckland has been ordered to repay more than $97,000 for not paying several employees the minimum wage.

Clevedon Rd Liquor in Papakura was investigated by the labour inspectorate, which found a "blatant disregard for employment standards".

The employer kept two sets of records - one to show hours worked as per employment agreements and another to show actual hours worked, and the company failed to pay the minimum wage for all worked hours and breached holiday and leave laws, the investigation found.

Labour inspectorate regional manager Loua Ward said while most employers do the right thing, it continues "to see workers in the liquor industry who are not receiving a fair day's pay for a fair day's work". 

"Cases of worker exploitation in New Zealand will not be tolerated," she said in a statement.

Four affected employees were repaid $97,361.66, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said.

The Employment Relations Authority agreed the breaches were intentional, saying "this case had the hallmarks of exploitation, due to the vulnerable position of the workers affected with regards to their immigration status".

MBIE said the store was also ordered to pay $50,000 in penalties and the company's director, Satnam Singh Jador, was personally liable for $20,000.

"The $50,000 and $20,000 penalties resulted from the company's failure to provide the minimum wage for all hours worked, charging and receiving premiums, holiday and leave breaches and record-keeping breaches."