FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #07-45
September 13, 2007

CONTACT:
Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5050


California Labor Commissioner issues over $1 million in citations to Southern California carwash owners for failure to register and other violations

Los Angeles – September 13, 2007—Officials with the State Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (Labor Commissioner’s Office) in a two-day enforcement sweep issued over 150 citations totaling more than $1 Million to over 60 Southern California carwash owners in six counties for failure to register with the state, and other violations of state labor laws.

“It’s our job to ensure that car wash owners are legally registered, that their employees are paid proper wages and that their rights and protections are safeguarded,” said California Labor Commissioner, Angela Bradstreet. “We will conduct detailed payroll audits and will seek additional back wages and penalties on top of the $1 Million plus in citations we assessed in the two-day enforcement action.”

Sweeps were made of carwashes located in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, San Diego, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties. Total penalties by county were $691,300 in Los Angeles, $62,400 in Orange, $138,500 in San Bernardino, $229,750 in San Diego/Imperial and $70,000 in Ventura/Santa Barbara. To request a list of the carwashes cited email the Department of Industrial Relations at: Communications@dir.ca.gov.

Investigators found that many of the car wash employees were required to work in excess of 8-hour days, often without overtime or meal and rest breaks, in violation of California labor law.

On-site citations issued include 67 citations for failure to register, 8 citations for violations of child labor laws, 13 citations for failure to provide itemized deduction statements, and 51 citations for no workers’ compensation insurance. Carwashes with no workers’ compensation insurance were shut down on the spot and employees were sent home. In addition payroll audits will be conducted at many of the carwashes.

All car wash owners were required to be registered by July 20, 2006 as required by state regulations that took effect in late 2005. As part of the registration process, car wash owners are required to post a $15,000 bond, purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance, and pay a $250 registration fee for each branch location they own. There are more than 1,600 car washes in the state employing an estimated 24,000 employees.

“We will not allow flagrant violations of our labor laws,” Bradstreet added. “These employers are required to register, their employees are entitled to be compensated at the rate the law requires, and all California business owners deserve a level playing field so they can remain competitive, thriving enterprises.”

To learn more about the functions of the California Labor Commissioner, visit our web site at www.dir.ca.gov/dlse.

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