FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2008-76
December 23, 2008

CONTACT:
Dean Fryer
415-703-5050

Internet: www.dir.ca.gov


CA Labor Commissioner Files Suit to Close Down San Diego Carwash

San DiegoDec. 23, 2008—California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet pursued legal action to shut down a San Diego carwash for failing to register with the Labor Commissioner’s Office as required under California Labor Code section 2050.

“This is the second lawsuit filed this year against carwashes that continue to illegally operate without a registration,” said Bradstreet. “I want to send a clear and strong message to the carwash industry that this is unacceptable.”

Filed in San Diego County Superior Court, the suit alleges that on Feb. 1, 2007 and again on March 13, 2008, investigators from the Labor Commissioner’s Office conducted an inspection and found that Choufa Holdings, Inc. dba Action Car Wash operated its business and employed workers without properly registering with the Labor Commissioner’s Office.

Investigators previously took steps against Action Car Wash for failure to provide workers’ compensation for their employees from Sept. 14, 2006 through Feb. 6, 2007.

A total of $28,000 in penalties was levied against the carwash company.

Action Car Wash did not appeal any of these citations, and their opportunity to appeal has expired. A judgment has been secured against the company for these penalties and collection activities are ongoing.

In California employers are required by law to provide their employees workers’ compensation insurance through an insurance policy or a certificate of self-insurance.

 “Identifying and taking action against carwash companies that operate illegally eliminates the competitive advantage they have over employers who operate within the law,” said Bradstreet.

A similar lawsuit was filed in March of 2008 against Sacramento carwash Scrub Boys who failed to properly register with the Labor Commissioner’s Office but eventually came into compliance after paying $10,000 in fines.

In 2003, the California legislature passed AB 1688 establishing a registration system for all carwash and polishing businesses. Known also as the Carwash Worker Law under Labor Code Sections 2050-2067, the law protects the well being of employees in the car washing and polishing industry. The Labor Commissioner’s Office has issued 845 carwash licenses in November 2008.

“Illegal cash pay, child labor violations and failure to provide workers’ compensation to their employees are some of the common violations found in the carwash industry” said Bradstreet.

The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complaints, and enforces state labor law and Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders. To learn more about the functions of the California Labor Commissioner, visit our web site at www.dir.ca.gov/dlse.  

Employees that have work-related questions or complaints can call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at 1-866-924-9757.

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