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CA Labor Commissioner Investigation Leads to Criminal Charges for Los Angeles Car Wash Company

February 4, 2013

As Vincent Howard reported in a previous Carson employment lawyers blog, last year, California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su filed two separate lawsuits in Los Angeles, California against three carwash businesses, seeking over $2 million in damages. The carwashes allegedly violated California labor laws by failing to pay car wash employees minimum wage and overtime compensation for their hard work.

In recent news, a criminal complaint for conspiracy as well as grand theft was filed against Wilshire West Car Wash, one of the car wash companies in the original lawsuit investigation from last year, as a result of a joint wage theft investigation by Commissioner Su and the Santa Monica Consumer Protection Unit. The criminal complaint includes charges against Medhi Soroudi, the business owner, and Gary Pendleton, the general manager, along with two supervisors--who are all charged with wage theft, and conspiring to steal wages from employees.

The Labor Commissioner's Office reportedly launched the original investigation into Wilshire West Car Wash, and uncovered a myriad of deliberate wage theft schemes over a four year period to cheat the car wash workers out of their wages. The labor law violations uncovered reportedly included altering worker time records, creating falsified time records to show that employees worked less time than they did, creating falsified time records to show that meal breaks were taken when they were not, failing to give proper meal and rest breaks, making workers sign documents stating that they had received their paid breaks, forcing workers to pay for fees that were illegal, and harassing, threatening and punishing any workers who stood up to these illegal actions.

The City Attorney's Office of Santa Monica filed charges of eleven counts of criminal activity, which includes labor by false pretenses, grand theft of money, failure to compensate minimum wage, failure to provide proper meal and rest breaks, conspiracy, and making employees give back wages which had been paid. Each charged offense is a misdemeanor.

As Vincent Howard frequently reports, wage theft is a serious workplace problem which not only hurts workers, but also hurts honest employers who play by the rules, and the honest tax payers. Under the Department of Industrial Relations's (DIR) watch, employers who deny their workers their right to fair pay will be held responsible, as the department states that they will use every possible resource to make sure workers are paid fairly under California law.

Contact Vincent Howard today to discuss your Irvine, California wage and hour issue over a free consultation.

California Labor Commissioner investigation results in charges against Santa Monica car wash, DIR Press Release, January 23, 2013

Related Web Resources:

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR): Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE)

Related Blog Posts:

State and Federal Investigation Uncovers Massive Wage and Hour Violations in Downtown Los Angeles Garment Industry, California Employment Lawyers Blog, February 1, 2013

DOL Conducts Enforcement Initiative to Combat Wage and Hour Violations in the Los Angeles Fashion District, SoCal Garment Industry, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 26, 2012

Tyson Workers to Receive $32M in Wage and Hour Settlement, California Employment Lawyers Blog, September 26, 2012

CA Labor Commissioner Sues Farm Labor Contractor for Wage and Hour Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, August 21, 2012

CA Labor Commissioner and DIR Continue to Combat Wage Theft in the Workplace, California Employment Lawyers Blog, June 30, 2012

Los Angeles Car Wash Workers Sue Employers for Wage and Hour Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, May 23, 2012

CA Labor Commissioner Julie Su Files $2M Lawsuits Against LA Car Wash Businesses, California Employment Lawyers Blog, March 7, 2012

CA Attorney General Harris Announces $1M Wage and Hour Settlement with Car Washes, California Employment Lawyers Blog, January 12, 2012

Audit Associates Gain Certification for Conditional Collective Action--in Employee Misclassification Lawsuit, California Employment Lawyers Blog, January 10, 2012

DOL Proposes Revisions to FLSA's Wage and Hour Laws for Home Care Workers, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 27, 2011

Obama and DOL Seek to Extend Federal Wage and Hour Laws to Home Health Care Workers, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 27, 2011

DOL Wage and Hour Investigation Forces South Florida Restaurants To Pay Nearly $700K in Back Wages, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 5, 2011

DOL Continues Long Island Wage and Hour Enforcement Initiative to Stop FLSA Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 3, 2011

Restaurant Pays $83K in Back Wages for Overtime, Minimum Wage Violations of FLSA, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 17, 2011

Tennessee Restaurants To Pay Overtime Back Wages for Willful and Repeated FLSA Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 11, 2011

DOL Continues to Track Down Federal Wage and Hour Law Violations in the Workplace, California Employment Lawyers Blog, September 8, 2011

CA Wage and Hour Lawsuit Settlement--66 Japanese Employees to Receive $145K in Overtime Back Wages, California Employment Lawyers Blog, August 22, 2011

Another DOL Investigation Brings Restaurant Employees $275K in Overtime Back Wages, California Employment Lawyers Blog, July 18, 2011

Former Car Wash Worker Awarded $80K Over Wage and Hour Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, June 30, 2011

Attorney General Brown Files Lawsuit Against Eight California Car Washes for $6M, California Employment Lawyers Blog, October 11, 2010