Assets of former Indian restaurateurs frozen in labor dispute

The Chilli Indian restaurant in Hamilton, which is now closed. Photo / Supplied

Assets belonging to the owners of a former Indian catering company in Hamilton have been frozen by the employment tribunal.

Jayant Kaushal and his wife Deepti Kaushal, who are directors of JDfoods Limited, have been named as respondents in a case brought by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

JDfoods operated a restaurant known as Chilli Indian Restaurant in Hamilton, until the Whatawhata Rd, Dinsdale business was sold in May of last year.

Jayant Kaushal, is one of the directors with 51 percent of the company’s shares, and his wife and co-director Deepti Kaushal, owns 49 percent.

MBIE Labor Inspector Melissa MacRury Says $ 57,249.93 is Owed to Three Former Employees and Finds the Company Violated the Labor Relations Act 2000, the Wage Protection Act of 1983 , the Minimum Wage Act of 1983 and the Vacation Act of 2003.

The directors are Indian nationals and there are concerns that they may move to India or Australia.  Photo / File
The directors are Indian nationals and there are concerns that they may move to India or Australia. Photo / File

She says Deepti and Jayant Kaushal are people involved in violations and filed a concern statement with the Employment Relations Authority on June 8, 2021.

The violations were denied by the respondents, who claim that Jayant was involved in the management of the business, but not Deepti.

They denied their records were inaccurate or misleading and claimed employees worked longer hours than recorded and were underpaid.

They also denied ever requesting or receiving bonuses and claimed that various payments and cash withdrawals were not made to them directly or on their behalf.

Even after two mediation sessions on October 22 and December 10 of last year, the case is still not resolved.

MacRury then brought this application for freeze orders and ancillary orders, fearing that the assets would be dissipated by the respondents.

Investigations into the company began after a complaint was lodged by an employee in June 2020, and the Inspection report was concluded in May of last year.

By this time the restaurant had been sold by JDfoods and the company did not
does not appear to be working now, with the Companies Office records indicating that it is overdue in filing its annual return.

Jayant and Deepti are both the only shareholders of another company, which also does not appear to be trading.

MacRury said that for the past few months, the couple had been selling their belongings, including furniture and their vehicle, through a Facebook page.

A property held in their name went up for sale on December 9, 2021.

MacRury said those assets had been sold or in the process of being sold without the labor inspector or the Authority being notified.

The request for the freezing of their assets was made because the sale of real estate and assets could, according to the labor inspector, lead to the loss of any chance of payment of arrears to the employees concerned and the penalties that could be imposed on them. .

Judge Bruce Corkill admitted that if the interim orders are not granted, the labor inspector could be in a situation where she would not be able to recover funds.

“This would mean that people affected by proven shortcomings will not receive the arrears due to them, nor any compensation for the treatment they claim to have suffered in the course of their employment,” he said.

The judge also accepted that any duress to the interim order could be mitigated by a direction that the freeze would not bar the respondents from
process the assets covered by the order for the purpose of paying living expenses, legal fees related to the freezing order or making payments in the ordinary course of business.

“Jayant and Deepti Kaushal are husband and wife and are both citizens of India. The labor inspector believes that once they have sold their business and personal property in New Zealand, there is a risk that the proceeds of the sale either transferred overseas or they relocate to India or Australia, ”Judge Corkill said.

“I accept that there is a legitimate basis for concluding that there is a danger of

Corkill concluded that a freezing order was appropriate and granted the ancillary orders requested.

“I am convinced, having regard to all the circumstances disclosed in the affidavit evidence, that there is a risk that any judgment ultimately rendered in favor of the labor inspector will be totally or partially dissatisfied, as the property of the respondents may have been alienated, treated with, or diminished in value, ”he said.

The freezing orders are in effect until January 28, 2022 at 4 p.m.

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