A Victorian businessman has become the first person in Australia to face criminal charges for alleged wage theft. Meanwhile, George Calombaris is preparing to launch his brand new TV show. Funny how that works.

The Wage Inspectorate of Victoria has filed a heaping 94 criminal charges against the restaurant Macedon Lounge and its owner Gaurav Setia.

Per The Age, it has alleged the business underpaid penalty rates, superannuation and wages of four employees to a sum of more than $7000.

Gaurav Setia will face 10 years in jail and will have to pay more than $1 million in fines if found guilty.

A gentle reminder that George Calombaris, who was explicitly guilty of wage theft, stole $7.8 million in wages from 515 former employees and was slapped with a $200,000 fine.

Calombaris is now preparing for the launch of his brand-new TV show Hungry, and sat down with The Project to talk about how “cancel culture” has negatively affected his image. My guy, you stole millions of dollars from innocent employees.

I’m excited to see Hamish Macdonald interview Setia on The Project next. After all, the real jail sentence is being cancelled, right?

The reason Setia could face such jail time while others have walked free is because new laws around wage theft came into effect in Victoria in June 2021.

Wage theft is actually only a crime in Victoria and Queensland, which is why so many NSW chefs get reputation rehabilitation and a slap on the wrist as a sweet reward for their villainy.

“Victorians can be confident the Wage Inspectorate is doggedly investigating wage theft reports and intends to bring further appropriate matters before the court,” Wage Inspectorate Victoria Commissioner Robert Hortle told The Age.

“These are the only stand-alone, criminal wage theft laws in Australia. There are serious penalties for dishonestly withholding employee entitlements in Victoria.”

I’m all for harsher punishments for those who think it’s okay to steal money from people trying to make a living, but it sure is fucked that the first Australian to face criminal charges for it is a person of colour.

Only makes it worse that one of the biggest wage thieves we’ve ever had is being celebrated on TV. Love it here.