In the video below a young female international student is slapped in the face and kicked in the stomach while working at Adelaide bubble tea store, Funtea, on Friday 29 January 2021.

The reason – she asked to be paid $10 per hour for the work she had done. It’s less than half the legal minimum hourly rate.

A longer version of the video with English subtitles is available on Youtube – click here.

39 year old Gavin Guo was later arrested and charged by South Australia police in relation to the assault. He was granted bail and will appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court in May.

The owners of Funtea moved quickly to distance the business from the incident, taping a statement to the front window of the bubble tea store. It read:

bubble tea

An incident took place at Fun Tea Gouger Street on Friday Evening, 29 January 2021.

During the incident, one of our female employees was allegedly struck by a customer. The customer was not related to Fun Tea.

The incident arose following a previous verbal argument which the female employee had had with the customer.

The alleged assault was not connected to a complaint about the employee’s pay or rates of pay.

The management and owners of Fun Tea deplore violence of any sort, and have zero tolerance for assaults or violence

This matter is under investigation by the Police, and an arrest has been made in connection with the alleged assault. The person arrested is not an employee of Fun Tea or related to Fun Tea.

If you were a witness or have any information or video which may be relevant, please contact the Police.

If anyone has any concerns, please contact the management (details below):

The victim of the assault – who does not want to be named – and her friend, who also worked at the store, are now represented by the Working Women’s Centre SA (WWC).

A statement by WWC on behalf of the victims describes what happened:

Our clients are two women aged 20 and 22. They are international students and were both employees of Funtea with service of 5 months and 3 weeks respectively.

During their employment at Funtea they earned between $10 and $12 an hour as casual employees. The minimum legal rate of pay for casual workers in a restaurant is $25.51.

Our clients are the victims of wage theft and in this respect, they are considering their legal position.

We are instructed that on Friday, 29 January 2021 at approximately 8.20pm Jiachen Duan (Jason Duan), their manager and the proprietor of Funtea, telephoned our client and advised her that Mr Lei Guo (Gavin Guo) was his close friend and directed our clients to provide free drinks and desserts to Mr Guo, his wife Gina and their children. Mr Guo and his family were already in attendance in the restaurant.

The video shows Mr Guo hitting one of our clients in the face. We understand that Mr Guo has been arrested and bailed.

The statement goes on to reject Funtea’s claims in the statement pictured above:

Our client(s) strongly reject Funtea’s statement that Mr Guo was not related to Funtea.

Mr Guo is a close friend of Mr Duan, the owner and manager of Funtea.

The Funtea statement is misleading. Our client entirely rejects any assertion that the assault was not in relation to a complaint about her pay.

Our client was asking to be paid her wages for that night and the two weeks prior. This is clear from the video.

Our clients stood up for themselves and their right to a wage and as a result they were violently attacked.

Work rights for international students in Australia

In Australia the Fair Work Ombudsman – an Australian Government agency – helps employees understand their rights and responsibilities under Australian workplace laws, and works with them to resolve workplace issues which may arise. Their services are free to all workers and employers in Australia. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s website provides helpful information on work rights for international students.

It also offers a fact sheet to help international students in Australia understand their rights at work.

Download the fact sheet


Image: Twitter