Popular Malaysian diner Mamak is facing court for allegedly underpaying six employees tens of thousands of dollars.

The six casual staff, all from non-English speaking backgrounds, worked at the Mamak Malaysian restaurant on Goulburn Street at Haymarket. Five of the six were visa holders when they commenced work at Mamak – four international students and one employee on a bridging visa.

While the underpayments have since been reimbursed, the staff were allegedly paid flat rates of as little as $11 an hour, totalling $87,349 in underpayments between February 2012 and April 2015.

One employee was allegedly underpaid a total of $26,793 and another $21,538.

Under the Restaurant Industry Award, the adult employees should have been paid more than $22 for normal hours and junior employees more than $13.

Fair Work inspectors are also alleging that they were provided with false records that made it appear that higher rates had been paid to one employee than was actually the case. Laws relating to pay-slips and providing employees with workplace access to information about minimum lawful entitlements were also allegedly contravened.   

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against restaurant owner operators Joon Hoe Lee, Julian Lee and Alan Wing-Keung Au and their company Mamak Pty Ltd.

Fair Work is also seeking an injunction restraining the owners – who also operate Mamak restaurants in Sydney’s Chatswood and also in Melbourne’s CBD – from contravening workplace laws in future. It’s also requested Court Orders for them to undertake training on workplace relations laws and to commission an audit of their compliance.

A directions hearing is listed for 5 February in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney.


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