A FORMER worker has taken prominent Fremantle restaurant Pizza Bella Roma to the industrial magistrates court claiming to have been underpaid about $70,000.
Indian national Satnam Singh had been sponsored by the restaurant on an 857 visa since 2009, but in court documents cited by the Herald claims to have been paid as a kitchen hand for several years when he was in fact working as a cook.
Mr Singh says he undertook training and for a while was being paid correctly, but a new manager demanded he sign a new contract which paid less.
Mr Singh also claims that after being injured at work in September last year, he was only allowed 16.5 hours of sick leave and was unlawfully forced to take annual leave for the remainder of his absence.
Mr Singh says that he was then summarily sacked by the restaurant, and has been unable to afford surgery for the injury, which is hampering efforts to find a new job.
But Pizza Bella Roma has rejected his claim, saying that he abandoned the job after the injury and was always paid according to his qualifications and tasks.
Owner Chris Johnson told the Herald he was restricted in what he could comment on because of the court case, but says Mr Singh was well treated.
“These are all unsubstantiated claims; it’s disappointing when you sponsor someone and then you have something like this come to you,” Mr Johnson said.
He said he looked forward to be able to present his case in court.
Mr Singh’s legal advisor Graham McCorry said following a breakdown in mediation the court had accepted a modified statement of claim which Pizza Bella Roma would have to respond to in 21 days.
He doesn’t expect the case to be resolved until later this year.