A Papatoetoe bottle store owner ordered to pay close to $50,000 for exploiting a migrant worker has had another $15,000 added to the charge for legal costs.
Basra and Khella Ltd, trading as Super Liquor Papatoetoe, was ordered by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) to pay $18,000 in penalties and more than $28,000 in arrears to a former worker.
The breaches include more than $25,000 in unpaid wages, and more than $3000 in unpaid holidays and leave allowances.
This month Basra and Khella Ltd was ordered to pay an additional $15,000 to cover the costs of five days' work, accommodation and flights for the labour inspector investigating the case.
The company unsuccessfully argued it lost income as a result of having to attend the investigation meeting for five days.
Super Liquor Papatoetoe opened late those days and the company said its conduct did not contribute to the hearing being extended to five days.
The labour inspector investigated after a worker complained to the ERA they had been commuting six days a week from their home in the North Shore to South Auckland for work, where shifts would regularly go for 12 hours and were often unpaid in full.
The ERA found Basra and Khella Ltd's sole director and employer Ravinda Basra failed to keep accurate records of the worker's hours.
The ERA relied on the worker's testimony along with his public transport records, timestamped photos and purchasing receipts from neighbouring businesses to prove his claims.
Labour Inspectorate sector lead, Loua Ward, often used alternative evidence to show an employer's exploitative actions where an absence of accurate wage and time records had occurred.
"It's also another example of a bottle store taking non-compliant advantage of a migrant worker, which is simply illegal," Ward said.
The Labour Inspectorate said it was working with bottle store franchisors to stamp out exploitation in this industry.
"Since these breaches occurred in 2017 and 2018, Super Liquor have taken significant steps to improve their compliance with employment minimum standards.
"We expect other franchises and brands to follow Super Liquor's lead, and do more to stop exploitation before it happens in their stores," Ward said.
"Any type of bad branding to a franchise's name can negatively affect franchisees under the same brand which, like the vast majority of businesses in New Zealand, are above board and rightfully adhere to minimum employment standards with their workers."
Last year a Consumer Protection survey found that more people were choosing to buy from businesses that they knew were looking after their staff.
The Inspectorate continues to encourage any worker who thinks they are being exploited to contact the MBIE Contact Centre on 0800 20 90 20, where all inquiries will be handled in a safe environment.