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Vic eatery cops $9500 back pay on the chin

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December 04, 2017

High-profile Melbourne restaurant Chin Chin has paid former bartender Sorcha Harrop $9500.

One of Melbourne's most high-profile restaurants has paid a former bartender almost $10,000 after she took the owners to court for wage theft.

Sorcha Harrop, 24, will withdraw her court action against Chin Chin and owners the Lucas Group after they agreed to back pay her $9500 earned while working at the restaurant between October 2016 and July 2017.

Ms Harrop argued she worked 14-hour days and did at least 12 hours of free labour each week at the restaurant famed for its long queues, and said "we need to change the culture".

"I love hospitality, I've been working in it for six years. I love making drinks, I love talking to people, it's such a great industry to be a part of when it functions," she told reporters on Monday.

"And if you can't pay your rent and you're getting sick all the time, it doesn't function."

As part of the settlement, the Lucas Group will conduct an independent audit of current and former employees.

United Voice Victoria secretary Jess Walsh said wage theft and sexual harassment is "rife" in hospitality and the union has launched a new app for workers to rate their employers.

Ratemyboss.org.au offers hospitality workers the chance to review their Victorian workplaces, informing customers and industry colleagues of the culture of a venue.

"For large parts of hospitality it seems to be a business model to underpay your staff, the repercussions until today for employers have not been enough," Ms Walsh said.

"It's time to turn the tables and hold employers accountable."

Ms Walsh said it was also a chance for good employers to shine.

"We've heard from young hospitality workers that they're just as keen to rate places that they think are great places to work," Ms Walsh said.

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