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Los Angeles Car Wash Workers Sue Employers for Wage and Hour Violations

May 23, 2012

Four carwash workers have filed a Los Angeles class action wage and hour lawsuit this week, accusing their employer, a family of carwash owners, of engaging in wage and hour violations at three of their Los Angeles-based facilities.

The wage and hour lawsuit that Vincent Howard has been following, was filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of the carwash workers, who claim that Kambiz, Bijan, and Edna Damavandi, the owners of Lincoln Millennium Car Wash, Bumble Bee Car Wash, and Santa Monica Car Wash violated California wage and hour laws.

The workers allege that their employers forced them to arrive early to work, yet they were only allowed to clock in for work when there were enough cars to wash. The employers are also being accused of failing to pay overtime compensation, and failing to provide their legally entitled right to rest and meal breaks under California law.

According to the CLEAN Carwash Campaign, the coalition that works to support low-wage car wash workers in the Southland, car washes in Southern California have become the "new sweatshops"--where many businesses employ around 100 manual laborers, frequently Latinos, and violate their wage and hour rights under California law.

The MALDEF-filed wage and hour lawsuit stated that these three car washes denied the workers fair wages and overtime payment for working beyond eight hours a day, and in excess of forty hours per week with an illegal time-keeping system. MALDEF stated that this class-action lawsuit seeks back wages for 100 workers who were allegedly denied overtime pay, rest and meal breaks and other wage among hour violations.

According to the LA County Federation of Labor, wage theft continues to plague the car wash industry because many workers are immigrants, and employers think they can get away with abuse. Under California law, immigration status is not relevant to the worker's ability to recover lost wages.

This suit adds to a series of recent Los Angeles-based wage and hour car wash lawsuits that Vincent Howard has reported on in our California employment lawyers blog. In January of this year, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced a $1 million settlement from eight Southern and Northern California car washes that were found to have engaged in wage and hour violations. In March, California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su filed two wage and hour lawsuits against three Los Angeles-area car washes for allegedly violating California Labor laws by failing to pay workers minimum wage and overtime compensation, and denying workers their legally entitled right to meal and rest breaks.

In Fullerton, Pomona, and Seal Beach, California, contact Vincent Howard today, at Howard Law, PC.

Lawsuit Filed Against Three Santa Monica Area Car Wash Facilities for Unlawful Labor Policies, Santa Monica Mirror, May 21, 2012

Carwash workers file class action against L.A.-area owners, Los Angeles Times, May 22, 2012

MALDEF files class action lawsuit against Southern California car washes, KPCC, May 21, 2012

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:

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