IR #2005-24
Friday, May 17, 2005

Dean Fryer
Renée Bacchini

Labor Commissioner discovers multiple violations in auto repair shops in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties

SAN FRANCISCO - The California Department of Industrial Relations' Divisions of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), in cooperation with Santa Clara County and San Mateo Regional Auto Theft Taskforce (RATTF) and local police agencies participated in an Underground Economy Operation (UEO). The three day UEO was an effort to crack down on auto repair businesses in violation of laws that give them an unfair advantage over other businesses and their employees. The vigorous enforcement effort resulted in a total of 82 citations and $226,650 in penalties as well as referrals to other agencies, one arrest and seizure of three stolen vehicles. The UEO strategically screened and targeted suspect businesses, making the multi-agency operation a success.

"The purpose of the multi-agency operations is to make the best use of various law enforcement agencies, especially in this time of shrinking public resources," said Donna M. Dell, State Labor Commissioner. "We see this as an opportunity to not only protect legitimate business, employees and consumers, but California's economy as well. In addition, this is an opportunity to educate employees and employers on their rights and responsibilities."

The result of the 28 inspections is as follows:

While these public agencies have been working together on joint enforcement operations, or sweeps, since 1993, efforts to crackdown have been stepped up under the current administration.

"We want a level playing field for all legitimate businesses in California," added the Labor Commissioner. "Unscrupulous operators have a leg up on legitimate business because they can charge less for their services. In the mean time the employees suffer with inadequate pay, no compensation if they are injured and a higher rate of injury because of health and safety violations. The consumer suffers by the operators shoddy business practices."

In California, regulations governing wages, hours and working conditions are laid out in the Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders, which must be available at the worksite where employees can read them. Employers can access the Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders and other workplace postings on-line at, you will find workplace posting on the left navigation bar.