CA Attorney General Harris Announces $1M Wage and Hour Settlement with Car Washes
January 12, 2012
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced this month that her office has secured a California wage and hour settlement of $1 million from eight Southern and Northern California car washes--who were found to have violated California Labor Code by engaging in a wide variety of wage and hour and record keeping violations, along with worker exploitation.
The civil lawsuit was filed in October 2010, as Vincent Howard discussed in a related Newport Beach employment attorney blog, after investigators found that the car washes consistently denied workers minimum wage and overtime compensation, failed to compensate workers who quit or whose employment was terminated, and denied the workers their legal right to rest and meal breaks.
The lawsuit was filed against eight car washes, located in Santa Monica, Venice, Irvine, Folsom, Fair Oaks, Laguna Niguel, San Ramon, and Laguna Hills, California, along with Dipu Haque Sikder, the man responsible for starting the business.
According to the wage and hour lawsuit, the car washes required employees to report for work several hours early for their shifts, and to be available for work without pay, until the business would pick up. When workers received compensation, many received checks that could not be cashed, because the company lacked the proper funds. The car washes also reportedly operated for many years without proper state licenses required from the Labor Commissioner.
In the wage and hour settlement, eight car washes will pay $1 million in unpaid wages, which will go the nearly 1,205 workers who are due back payment, along with $50,000 in employment taxes.
Last year in a related Los Angeles wage and hour lawsuit blog that Vincent Howard discussed, a former car wash employee won $80,000 in a wage and hour settlement after the worker accused the car wash of not paying him for all hours worked, and for overtime hours. In the lawsuit, the worker accused the company of cutting his hours, and bringing in other employees who worked for tips only. When the employee asked for proper compensation, the employer reportedly threatened to fire the worker, and call immigration officials.
According a 2008 Los Angeles Times investigation, car wash owners in Southern California were found to frequently violate labor and immigration laws by hiring illegal immigrants and minors in order to pay them far below the state and federal minimum wage, often times with tip payment only--violating California State law and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In cities throughout Orange County, California and Southern California, contact Vincent Howard and our experienced team of Costa Mesa labor and employment attorneys today, at Howard Law, PC.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Settlement with Car Washes that Underpaid Workers and Violated Labor Laws, Office of the Attorney General, California Department of Justice Press Release, January 10, 2012
$800,000 to go to exploited California car wash workers, Southern California Public Radio, January 11, 2012
California car washes agree to pay workers back wages, Los Angeles Times, January 10, 2012
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