A STORE owner found to have unfairly sacked a worker because she is not Asian has been ordered to pay nearly twice the maximum he had argued for to stay afloat.
In late September, the Fair Work Commission ruled that Ashmont FoodWorks' owner Jianbin 'Eddie' Wang unfairly dismissed a woman in her 60s.
The sacking was allegedly done via text message after Mr Wang accused her of misconduct and unexplained absences.
The woman had been employed at the store for more than 20 years, including when Mr Wang secured ownership in mid-2016.
In a decision earlier this week, deputy commission president Peter Sams ordered Mr Wang to compensate her $11,803.
Through his legal representatives at Commins Hendriks, Mr Wang had argued that if he were to pay more than $7000, the store would "almost certainly" be forced to close down because of financial hardship.
However, he did not provide any evidence about his incapacity to pay.
He also argued that because English is not his first language, he did not understand the commission's processes in relation to the unfair dismissal claim.
Mr Wang only sought legal advice from Commins Hendriks after the September decision. His lawyers also argued the text message was not intended to be termination but meant for her to not work her next shift.
Mr Wang acknowledged that he did not communicate this purpose effectively because of his English skills.
He denied receiving numerous phone calls from the woman after the text, saying he was at the hospital with his child.
He also said that he assumed the woman terminated the employment on her own and he provided a reference as a gesture of goodwill.
In his remarks, deputy deputy commission president Peter Sams dismissed Mr Wang's arguments.
Mr Sams said that the compensation was not a significant impact on the business.
He also said that while an appeal may be lodged in relation to the text message being misunderstood, the argument was "little more than a post-fabricated invention when the respondent finally realised he was at significant loss of formal orders being made against him".
"It makes no sense why the applicant would leave her employment voluntarily when this was the only job she had worked in over 20 years," Mr Sams said,.
"I will not accept further re-creation of history based purely on submissions, without cogent evidence."
Mr Sams said it was too late for Mr Wang and his representatives to start "re-agitating his defence of the case when he was given every opportunity to do so earlier".
The former employee found casual employment six weeks after the dismissal. Mr Sams said she should be congratulated for that given her age and regional residency.
Mr Wang was approached for comment but he declined and referred queries to his legal representatives.
Commins Hendriks has been contacted for comment.