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The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured $232,545 in penalties against the operators of Barry Cafe in Melbourne’s Northcote.

The court found the company that operates the cafe and two of its directors deliberately underpaid 73 staff members more than $180,000 from April 2017 until April 2018.

Siblings Stavros and Anastasia Petroulias were fined $33,919 and $29,030 respectively, with Malevi Pty Ltd (a company they part own and operate) receiving a penalty of $169,596.

Employees received flat rates of $18 to $25 an hour and were underpaid totals from $31 to $12,315.

Most underpayments were a result of failing to pay employees penalty rates and casual loadings. Some workers were also not paid the minimum wage.

The court found the operators were aware they did not meet their obligations under the award, but deliberately contravened workplace laws.

It was also found the operators breached record-keeping laws and did not offer further shifts to a worker who challenged their pay rate.

“I do not accept that the respondents are genuinely contrite. Rather, I consider that they are very sorry that they have been caught, and are facing a substantial penalty,” said Judge Riley.

The Court ordered Malevi Pty Ltd to commission an independent audit of its wage payment practices and provide the results to the FWO. The operators must also obtain workplace training.

The company and operators have been ordered to rectify the underpayments in full.

Workers have been partially back-paid so far.