Melbourne: An Indian-origin hotelier has been ordered by an Australian court to pay 15,000 dollars in compensation to a Nepalese-origin waiter who was denied salary for not "speaking proper English", media said today.
Milan Dehal, 29, who worked at Indian Masala Restaurant in Adelaide, had been fighting for almost 18 months for 1640.06 Australian dollars of salary.
The Industrial Relations Court awarded 15,000 dollars (USD 10,000) in compensation after manager Nicholas Sharma refused to pay him salary partly because he "can't even speak proper English", the Herald Sun reported.
During the hearing, Mr Sharma denied he had to pay weekend penalty rates to Dehal for his work.
"I'm offering to pay it, but not the amount that has been asked for, a person who can't even speak proper English and he's demanding 30 dollars an hour," he told the court.
He had claimed that Nepalese-born Dehal was only entitled to 17.50 dollars an hour which is below the weekend award rate.
Mr Dehal, meanwhile, said he had fought for the rights of other exploited workers.
"A lot of guys from the Indian community are being exploited. This was not just for myself, I wanted to set an example for others who are in the same situation and to show this is not acceptable," he said.
During the hearing, Nikki Candy from the Young Workers Legal Service submitted that Mr Sharma had shown a "blatant disregard for the award and its associated conditions."
She told the court it was "highly likely" other workers in Mr Sharma's employment were also being exploited.
Industrial Magistrate Michael Ardlie said Mr Sharma had shown no "contrition."
"The respondent (Sharma) has shown complete contempt for the legal process and for the workplace laws," he said.
The Magistrate imposed a 15,000 dollars civil penalty and ordered Mr Sharma to pay Mr Dehal that amount within 28 days.