IR #2009-32
November 2, 2009

Erika Monterroza
Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5050


CA Labor Commissioner levies nearly $1 million in citations
during statewide enforcement of carwash industry

San Francisco—Oct. 30—Investigators from the California Labor Commissioner’s Office issued over $900,000 in fines to businesses in the car wash industry in a two day statewide enforcement sweep. The penalties included a total of $600,900 issued to 76 unlicensed carwash businesses that were cited for not having a registration.

“Requiring carwash businesses to register with the state allows us to focus on those businesses that undercut their competition, which makes it difficult for legitimate carwash businesses to stay in operation,” said California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet. “As part of the underground economy, these illegal businesses often do not pay state taxes, and take advantage of employees by not providing workers’ compensation coverage or paying proper wages.”

The two day enforcement sweep, which began on Oct. 28, involved 42 investigators who conducted 230 car wash inspections and issued 141 citations against 103 car wash businesses with citations issued totaling $916,711.  

Investigators found 49 businesses that failed to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Citations issued totaled $240,000 and businesses without workers’ compensation coverage were issued stop work orders, which prevents them from operating with employee labor.

Also found during the investigations were 12 cases where the employer did not provide employees a wage deduction statement, one case of improper payment of minimum wage and one case of improper payment of overtime. Two businesses were found to have hired minors without having the required work permits on file.

The statewide enforcement action included the counties of Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, Fresno, Humboldt, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Shasta, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, and Yolo.
“Recently, AB 236 was signed by the governor, extending the law to 2014, to protect those workers in the carwash industry and to provide businesses the opportunity to come into compliance with labor laws,” added Bradstreet. “This registration allows us to better monitor situations where we have traditionally seen labor violations.”

To request a list of the violations and businesses cited during the enforcement action, email the Department of Industrial Relations at: A list of all car wash businesses currently registered with the State is available on DIR’s website at the following link:

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 Employees with work-related questions or complaints, including heat illness, may call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at (866) 924-9757.

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