The labour watchdog says it's time for communities to take a stand against migrant workers being exploited by their bosses, as 11 Auckland restaurants have been fined for failing to provide employment records.
Labour Inspectorate manager David Milne said Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) staff were dealing with a growing number of cases of workplace exploitation, and people in communities need to name and shame the employers.
"The community needs to take responsibility by simply not patronising these places," he said.
In the latest case, 11 restaurants in the Masala chain have been fined $66,000 for failing to provide employment records to a Labour inspector.
An Auckland restaurant was also recently ordered to pay $22,000 for failing to pay wages and holiday pay to migrant workers. Beagle Brothers Ltd, trading as Japanese restaurant Genji Ponsonby, was found by labour inspectors to have underpaid two migrant workers.
"It's a question of not accepting exploitation as part of something that's in our community that we just live with... we should be taking strong steps not only at government, but also in our community to eradicate it," Mr Milne said.
"Behind that $10 main is a social cost, and that social cost might be that workers are not being paid properly... I think people need to choose wisely and ethically," he said.
"Business owners must ensure they are acting lawfully and that each employee is receiving their minimum entitlements. Those that do not will be subject to enforcement action, which can include penalties of up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for companies."
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue said the exploitation of migrant workers in Christchurch had been a focus for the Human Rights Commissioner.
"We can't be bystanders any more, we've all got to take responsibility, it's everyone's problem. If there are people who are concerned about exploitation of migrant workers they need to say something to someone, obviously if they can't say it direct to the employer they should contact MBIE."
Last year a chain of liquor stores in Auckland were found to owe more than $200,000 in employment law breaches.
MBIE froze the employers assets and managed to get some of the money back to the workers who had been exploited.
* Masala has today been fined $66,000 for failing to provide employment records to a Labour inspector.
* Genji Ponsonby ordered to pay $22,000 in fines and wage arrears on Friday after not paying workers minimum wage.
* Little Saigon in Christchurch was found to have not paid a chef in five years, and ordered to pay him close to $175,000 on November 11. The owner is appealing against the decision.
* In 2013, Ala'a Bader owed $211,574.33 for not paying minimum wage, not allowing holidays and other employment breaches. He ran liquor stores across Auckland.