CA Labor Commissioner Julie Su Files $2M Lawsuits Against LA Car Wash Businesses
March 7, 2012
Julie A. Su, California's Labor Commissioner, filed two separate Los Angeles, California lawsuits yesterday, against three carwash businesses that allegedly violated California State labor and employment laws by failing to pay minimum wage and overtime to car wash employees, among other violations.
Vincent Howard and our Costa Mesa employment lawyer team have been following the Labor Commissioner's announcement of the Los Angeles wage and hour lawsuits, that are reportedly seeking over $2,047,464 in back wages, penalties and damages.
The DIR's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) reportedly conducted investigations that found Wilshire Car Wash, Vermont Auto Spa, and Rosecrans King Car Wash, responsible for violating California state laws. The investigations found violations of overtime payment, minimum wage, and record-keeping laws, along with failure to provide and issue itemized wage deduction statements, also required by California law, so workers have a way to verify if the pay they receive covers all hours of their employment. Vermont Auto Spa along with Wilshire Car Wash were also accused of violating employee meal and rest breaks, also required by California Labor law.
In the Labor Commissioner's first complaint, Rosecrans King Car Wash was found to have regularly failed to properly compensate workers with all earned wages from January of 2009 until the present. Investigation evidence reportedly proved that the employer routinely failed to compensate workers for every hour worked, resulting in minimum wage and overtime compensation violations. The lawsuit seeks $1,698,732 in minimum wage, overtime compensation and penalties, along with attorney costs.
The Labor Commissioner's second complaint, filed against Wilshire Car West and Vermont Auto Spa, found that the car washes violated minimum wage, overtime and record keeping requirements, and failed to provide itemized wage deduction statements for employees.
The investigation also found that between March of 2009 and August of 2010, B.B.L. Investment Corporation, doing business as Wilshire Car Wash, used the same car wash facility, as well as the same team of workers to offer the exact same car wash services between this time and when the operations of business continued as V5 Car Wash. According to Su, because both car washes were reportedly acting at all times within the course and scope of an employment venture--which under California law, makes the legal successor to B.B.L. Investment Corporation, V5 Car Wash. Su stated that when employers are often caught violating California law, they try to play a shell game--by attempting to quickly shut down an operation and open a new one without paying their workers. This lawsuit seeks $348,732 in overtime payment, minimum wages, and meal and rest violations and penalties, as well as attorney costs.
According to the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), wage theft is a serious problem that harms both workers and employers, along with the state economy. The Labor Commissioner's office stated that they will use every possible resource available to make sure that workers are paid fairly for the labor that they provide, as required by law.
In January of this year, Vincent Howard reported in a related Carson, California wage and hour blog after Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced that she had secured the California wage and hour settlement of $1 million from eight Southern and Northern California car washes. In the California wage and hour lawsuit settlement, the car washes were found to have engaged in violations of the California Labor Code by failing to pay workers minimum wage and overtime compensation, and denying fired workers their proper compensation, as well as denying workers their legal right to rest and meal breaks.
In Tustin, Stanton, and Seal Beach, California, contact our Orange County labor and employment lawyer Vincent Howard, at Howard Law, PC.
CA Labor Commissioner sues L.A. carwash businesses for more than $2 million, California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Press Release, March 6, 2012
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