The former operator of an Epping restaurant operation is facing allegations it underpaid a migrant employee by almost $70,000.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is taking legal action against China Bar Buffet, which owned the China Bar Signature restaurant and China Bar Express outlet.

The ombudsman is also taking action against the company’s sole director, Siak Kong Chi, and its bookkeeper Ying Lee, both of the China Bar Group, alleging they were involved in some of the company’s alleged breaches of workplace laws.

It is alleged that China Bar Buffet underpaid a Chinese worker $69,321 between February, 2015, and December, 2016. The worker was in Australia on a spousal visa.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges the employee regularly worked 60 hours a week as a kitchen hand but was only paid between $700 and $1060 a week.

It is alleged China Bar Buffet underpaid the ordinary hourly rates, overtime rates and weekend and public holiday rates the employee is entitled to under the Restaurant Industry Award.

Annual leave entitlements, superannuation and a split shift allowance were also allegedly underpaid.

The Fair Work Ombudsman said China Bar Buffet also allegedly provided inspectors with false records showing inaccurate hours of work and payments for the employee and other workers.

China Bar Buffet is facing penalties of up to $63,000 per contravention  Mr Chi and Ms Lee face maximum penalties of $12,600 per contravention.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said improving workplace compliance in the fast food, restaurant and catering sector was a priority.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman considers all allegations of worker exploitation seriously, particularly matters involving visa holders who may be reluctant to complain,” she said.

“The alleged underpayment of a migrant worker and falsification of records in this matter warranted court action.”

The case will be heard in the Federal Circuit Court on May 7.