An Italian restaurant in Melbourne has copped $72,800 in penalties after facing the Fair Work Ombudsman in court.

The operators of Mother Dough, Champagne or Wine Pty Ltd, and its company directors Jeffrey Dean Baldassarre and Allison were taken to court after not complying with a notice that required them to calculate and back-pay a waiter.

They were also accused of failing to comply with a notice to produce records from Fair Work inspectors.

A Fair Work inspector formed the belief a waiter, who worked at the restaurant from June 2018 to September 2019, had been underpaid minimum wages and penalty rates for evening and weekend work, under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010.

Judge Caroline Kirton found that the contraventions were deliberate, and that Baldassarre and Barnes had displayed “a lack of understanding of the contravening conduct and indeed a lack of contrition”. Baldassarre and Barnes were penalised $10,400 each, with Champagne or Wine Pty Ltd copping a $52,000 fine.

“The respondents have demonstrated a stubborn determination not to take steps in compliance with the Compliance Notice and Notice to Produce, indicating that there is plainly a need for specific deterrence,” Judge Kirton said.

Judge Kirton also found that there was a need to impose penalties to deter other employers from similar conduct: “The Court considers that general deterrence is desirable within the hospitality industry, particularly restaurants, given the propensity of employers to hire young and vulnerable staff, with little regard for their legal entitlements.”

In addition to the penalties, Champagne or Wine Pty Ltd has been ordered to back-pay the worker in full, plus additional superannuation entitlements.

“When compliance notices and notice to produce are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure we can fully investigate matters and ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” said Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah.

“Employers also need to be aware that taking action to improve compliance in the fast food, restaurant and café sector and to protect young workers are priorities for the FWO.”