Fun Tea: Bubble tea shop at centre of wild Adelaide brawl allegedly underpaid 20 staff $186,895 | Ralph Lauren

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Legal action has been taken against the Adelaide bubble tea business at the centre of a wild brawl that went viral on the internet after the operator allegedly underpaid staff by more than $186,000.

The Yuxuan Group Pty Ltd — which operates Fun Tea outlets on Gouger St, York St and in Rundle Mall — will face the Federal Circuit and Family Court in November regarding the alleged underpayments over a two-week period in August 2019 and a nine-month period between April 2020 and February 2021.

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), 20 employees who worked across the three stores were underpaid and their employer Yang Su, who was the former group director, also failed to provide pay slips.

Several of those employees were workers on visas, including international students, with four of them being juniors under the age of 21.

One of those was the young woman at the centre of the wild brawl that was filmed at the Gouger St store earlier this year.

The woman, who was aged 20 at the time, was a on a student visa and was allegedly underpaid $672.

One of the women was slapped in the face at the Fun Tea Gouger St store earlier this year. Supplied/Reddit
Camera IconOne of the women was slapped in the face at the Fun Tea Gouger St store earlier this year. Supplied/Reddit Credit: Supplied

All 20 employees were allegedly paid between $10-$18 an hour, well below the legal national minimum wage of $20.33, and did not receive penalty rates for evenings, weekends, public holidays and overtime work as well as superannuation.

They were also not given meal breaks, according to the FWO.

Investigations into the business began after public allegations of compliance issues at Fun Tea.

The FWO is seeking penalties and a court order requesting the company back pay all 20 employers in full.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said matters that involved the underpayment of visa holders were serious because they could be vulnerable to workplace exploitation.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman will hold business operators to account when we encounter allegations that involve vulnerable workers. All workers have the same rights in Australia regardless of nationality or visa status,” she said.

“Employers also need to be aware that compliance in the fast food, restaurant and cafe sector continues to be a priority for the FWO. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”

Bubble Tea Protest
Camera IconThe video of the slap went viral on the internet and prompted a protest against wage theft and the violent assault. NCA NewsWire / Kelly Barnes Credit: News Corp Australia

The video of the wild brawl went viral on the internet in February this year. It showed Le Guo — also known as Gavin — slapping a Fun Tea employee across the face.

It prompted the business owners to release a public statement denying claims the confrontation stemmed from an argument about the young woman’s pay. They also denied any affiliation with Guo.

“The incident arose following a previous verbal argument which the female employee had with the customer,” the statement read.

“The alleged assault was not connected to a complaint about the employee’s pay or rates of pay.”

But the victim hit back at her employer, saying the statement was “misleading” and she was a “victim of wage theft” who only earnt between $10 and $12 an hour.

It led to dozens of protesters rallying out the front of the Chinatown shop, calling for an end to wage exploitation and theft.

Guo pleaded guilty to one count of assault over the incident. He was convicted and signed a 2½ year good behaviour bond.

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