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
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