August 20, 2019
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Australian MasterChef star fined for underpaying his employees

Sydney, Australia, Jul 18 (efe-epa).- A high-profile chef who serves as a judge on the Australian version of the popular television show MasterChef and is one of its stars has been ordered to pay 8 million Australian dollars ($5.6 million) in compensation and fines for exploiting his employees, according to a statement by the Fair Work Ombudsman Thursday.

The Ombudsman imposed a fine of $140,000 on the MADE Establishment group, founded by Chef George Calombaris and headed by him between 2008-18, after detecting irregularities in the remuneration of employees.

"MADE’s massive back-payment bill should serve as a warning to all employers that if they don’t get workplace compliance right from the beginning, they can spend years cleaning up the mess," said Ombudsman Sandra Parker.

The irregularities include underpayment of wages and not compensating overtime or weekends, according to the statement, which added that the company accepted a settlement and compensated the affected parties.

MADE Establishment, which owns the restaurants Press Club, Gazi and three Hellenic Republic subsidiaries, all of them in Melbourne, had to pay $5.4 million to 515 employees and former employees who worked for them between 2011-17.

This is not the first time that Calombaris, one of the three MasterChef Australia judges, has been embroiled in controversy. Two years ago, he was fined for hitting a spectator during a soccer match.

In 2017, the Guinness World Records recognized MasterChef as the most successful cooking show on television.

Since it first premiered on the BBC in 2005, it has been adapted in more than 52 countries with separate versions for adults, children and celebrities.

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