Los Angeles Car Washes Hit With More Than $1.3 Million in Citations

Mar 9 2015 - Compensation, Minimum Wage, Overtime - Gail Cecchettini Whaley

Continuing its campaign against “wage theft,” the California Labor Commissioner’s Office issued citations in late February against car wash businesses in the Los Angeles area.

The citations totaled more than $1.3 million, after the inspections uncovered numerous violations of state wage-and-hour laws affecting nearly 400 workers. The majority of the violations were found at 35 car wash businesses that didn’t register with the Labor Commissioner’s Office. Businesses engaged in car washing and polishing must register with the Labor Commissioner.

The Labor Commissioner indicated that its office will also be conducting full wage audits of some of the inspected car washes.

“When car wash businesses fail to register, it is often an indicator of wage theft,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. “We want to make sure car wash workers are paid what they are owed and that employers who follow the law know we are on their side.”

Violations cited included failing to pay workers minimum wage and overtime, which resulted in $412,200 in penalties and $308,584 in liquidated damages. Another 17 violations with citations totaling $218,000 were issued to employers who did not carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

“These citations serve as a reminder that wage theft will not be tolerated,” said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), which oversees the Labor Commissioner’s Office.

The Labor Commissioner’s Office has made wage theft a top priority. Last year, the Labor Commissioner’s Office launched the “Wage Theft is a Crime” public awareness campaign to inform workers of their rights.

California employers need to pay close attention to increased wage-and-hour enforcement efforts. Enforcement agencies have been quite busy, and they don’t seem to be slowing down.

Shane Peterson, Senior Editor

CalChamber members can visit the HR Library’s Pay & Scheduling section for detailed coverage of California’s extensive wage-hour laws. If you’re a CalChamber member, you can also download our free Eight Steps for Examining Your Wage Practices white paper to learn why auditing yourself is a good idea (sign in required).

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