The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the owner of a Thai restaurant in Newcastle for failing to correctly calculate and back-pay alleged underpayments of his employees, some of whom were visa holders.

Supon Phiyasirikul, who runs Thai Square Warners Bay, is alleged to have breached the Fair Work Act by failing to follow a compliance notice requiring him to address alleged underpayments between July 2018 and June last year.

The compliance notice was issued after an employee request led to a Fair Work Inspector conducting an investigation of Mr Phiyasirikul’s business.

The Ombudsman is seeking a penalty against Mr Phiyasirikul in the Federal Circuit Court, with a maximum fine of $6,300 attached to the charge.

He will also again be asked to rectify the alleged underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.

The fast food, restaurant and cafe sector has accounted for more disputes than any other industry during the last six years, the Ombudsman said.

It made up 56 per cent of the organisations new litigations last financial year.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said compliance notices were an important tool to recover unpaid wages and would be enforced when not followed.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman is cracking down on alleged underpayments in the fast food, restaurant and cafe sector, including of migrant workers, and will continue to use all its enforcement tools to ensure employers meet their lawful obligations,” Ms Parker said.