A Nando's worker has been awarded more than $16,000 in unpaid wages and costs.

Anil Tummuru went to the Employment Relations Authority claiming he had been unpaid or part-paid during the period he worked for the operator of the fast food chain's Ashburton franchise, Khan Enterprises, December 2013 and June 20 2014.

Mr Tummuru trained at the Nando's restaurant in Riccarton, Christchurch at the beginning of that period before starting work in Ashburton in mid-February. The Riccarton outlet is not owned by Khan Enterprises.

One of Khan Enterprises' directors, Mohammed Khan, told the authority Mr Tummuru was not an employee during the training period.


Authority member Helen Doyle said Mr Tummuru was vulnerable during the training, having left another job to start it. Mr Tummuru felt he needed to keep on side with Mr Khan for work in Ashburton and Ms Doyle concluded the relationship between the men during the initial period was one of employment.

"His training was for the benefit of that company [Khan Enterprises]. He is entitled to payment for the hours he worked," she said.

She found shortcomings in Khan Enterprises' record-keeping during the training but calculated Mr Tummuru worked nine hours a day and six days a week.

She also found Mr Tummuru was underpaid after moving to work in the Ashburton store.

In total, she awarded him $13,741 in unpaid wages, $850.50 for working public holidays and alternative days, almost $1600 holiday pay and $71.56 costs.