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Gaming machines expose Kiwi-Indian restaurant exploiting worker

A restaurant worker who worked 50 to 60 hours a week but was paid for only 30 has been awarded $34,370 in compensation.  

The woman, who didn’t wish to be named, endured a sense of captivity during her employment at an Alexandra bar, restaurant, and hotel, news website Stuff has reported. 

She reportedly expressed regret over her decision to come to New Zealand after facing exploitation during her nearly year-long tenure.

Though she held the position of assistant manager from June 2019 to February 2020, working 50 to 60 hours weekly, she was compensated for only 30 hours as per her employment agreement, which stipulated a pay rate of $20 per hour. 

Trapped by the accommodation tied to her employment agreement, the woman, along with her husband, relocated from North Island to Alexandra for the job. She worked six days a week and, feeling like a prisoner, found her work negatively impacting her family and social life, causing deep sadness.

After nine months, she decided to resign, seeking her final holiday pay, but her employers consistently evaded payment, according to Stuff. 

Turning to the Labour Inspectorate, an investigation revealed that 4S Hospitality, operating the Criterion Club, had falsified records of her working hours. External eftpos records, data from electronic gaming machines, and information from the TAB terminal exposed the true extent of her hours.

She was awarded $14,770 in arrears and faced $24,000 in penalties against the company and $12,000 against Kuljinder Singh Sidhu, a key figure in the business. Despite not owning the business, Sidhu was reportedly aware of the inaccurate record-keeping and holiday pay lapses. Half of the penalties were allocated to the woman, along with $1500 in interest.

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