Empowered restaurant worker claims unpaid wages

14 January 2016
Scott put in eight months of hard work, but his employee failed to pay part of his wages and all of his superannuation. We showed him how to get what he had rightfully earned.

Scott* moved to Australia from North America and was employed casually as a restaurant waiter for eight months. After sustaining an injury at work and receiving some workers compensation, his work hours were reduced. He emailed his manager about the issue and the next day, was told that due to a “lack of work” his services were no longer required.

After eight months of hard work, Scott felt cheated. By all appearances his employment had been terminated for merely enquiring into his workplace rights by asking about his working hours. He also believed he was owed unpaid wage entitlements, as he had not been paid any superannuation and part of his wages.

Scott applied to and attended a conference at the Fair Work Commission, where he and his former employer failed to agree on a settlement amount. His next option was to apply to the Federal Circuit Court.

“Without your help I wouldn't have even started proceedings.”

Daunted by the prospect of commencing legal action by himself, he contacted the Justice Connect Self Representation Service for assistance.

The workers assigned to Scott’s case were with him every step of the way; their support proved invaluable. “Without your help I wouldn't have even started proceedings,” said Scott.

Justice Connect provided him with advice on pursuing his unpaid wages in Court and explained where to go to claim his superannuation entitlements; they helped him to draft his application and prepare his supporting court documents; and they explained the procedures in the Court, so that Scott understood what was likely to happen at court.

After successfully lodging his application, Scott sought further help from Justice Connect to prepare for the hearing, who advised him on how to make an offer of settlement and what he should keep in mind in trying to settle his matter.

Yet another daunting legal process immediately felt more manageable.

Scott made an offer of settlement two days before his hearing. Both parties agreed on a settlement amount and Scott happily discontinued the matter when he received payment.

“I can't thank you all enough for the help. I wouldn't have made it this far without you."

He told the Service: “I am extremely grateful for your assistance with my matter. As a result of this process, my previously unpaid superannuation has magically appeared in my super account.”

“I can't thank you all enough for the help. I wouldn't have made it this far without you."

*name changed for privacy