The former owner of three Indian restaurants in Christchurch has been banned from running a hospitality business for two years after making staff fill in time sheets with fewer hours than they actually worked.
The Labour Inspectorate said Amar Deep Singh acted with "callousness and disregard for the welfare of the employees".
The Employment Court found Jeet Holdings Ltd, Jeet Holdings No.2 (in liquidation) and Jeet Holdings No.6 (in liquidation), previously trading as Coriander’s Ethnic Indian Restaurant, seriously breached the Minimum Wage Act by not paying workers statutory entitlements and failing to keep accurate time and wage records.
Coriander’s Ethnic Indian Restaurant, which has three outlets, is now run by different people.
"The eight employees were routinely instructed to show in their time sheets less hours worked than they had actually worked. That meant the wage and time records were unreliable because of a premeditated, systematic, method of underpayment over several years," the Labour Inspectorate said in a statement.
Singh has been banned from employing staff for two years, the third-such banning order issued.
"The Court found that Singh acted with callousness and disregard for the welfare of the employees. He instructed them to complete false timesheets and, when detection was likely, came up with a plan to attempt to cover up what was going on and derail the Inspector’s investigation."
Singh left the country in late 2019 and did not return for the hearing.
Singh was ordered to pay penalties of $112,800, while the three companies were penalised nearly $200,000 in total.
The three companies were also ordered to pay compensation of a combined $271,827.80 to the staff.