12 Nov 2014

Vietnamese restaurant fined $175,000

6:53 pm on 12 November 2014

The lawyer for a Christchurch Vietnamese restaurant ordered to pay an immigrant chef $175,000 says it does not accept the decision and is considering whether to appeal.

The Employment Relations Authority has ruled Little Saigon must pay Vu Nguyen $175,000 for unpaid wages incurred over five years, and other penalties.

Vu Nguyen and his brother, Bao, lived in the owner's garage, worked 66 hours a week without pay and ate in the restaurant, the ruling said.

They were fired early last year for not having washed a tablecloth.

But the restaurant owner's lawyer, Robbie Davison, said his client was upset at the decision.

"All I'd like to say is that our client doesn't accept the result of the Employment Relations Authority determination and that at this time she's currently considering whether to seek a new hearing," he said.

Council of Trade Unions lawyer Jeff Sissons said the restaurant's actions were a national shame and some of the worst offending he had seen.

"I think it's really remarkable and shocking that we should see such examples of exploitation here in New Zealand."

Mr Sissons said he was surprised it did not become a criminal matter.

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