FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 06, 2012
CA Labor Commissioner sues L.A. carwash businesses for more than $2 million
Los Angeles—California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su today filed two separate lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court against three Los Angeles carwash businesses for violations including failure to provide minimum wage and overtime to employees. The complaints seek unpaid wages, penalties and damages totaling in excess of $2,047,464.
The California Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (Labor Commissioner’s Office) conducted investigations and found that Rosecrans King Car Wash, Wilshire Car Wash and Vermont Auto Spa violated state laws.
“Wage theft is a serious problem that harms workers and employers who follow the laws as well as the state economy. As this case shows, we will hold employers accountable to the full extent of the law,” said DIR Director Christine Baker.
Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su added, “We will use every tool available to ensure employers pay their workers what is owed for the labor that is provided. Employers cannot be allowed to reap the benefit from the labor of their workers without providing them with at least the basic pay required by law.”
Both lawsuits allege violations of minimum wage, overtime and record keeping laws and failure to issue itemized wage deduction statements as required by law. B.B.L. Investment Corporation d.b.a. Wilshire Car Wash and V5 Car Wash, LLC d.b.a. Vermont Auto Spa were also found in violation of meal and rest period requirements.
“Our investigations found that employers knowingly and willfully failed to properly record accurate time records for each worker and failed to provide them with itemized wage deduction statements with their pay,” added Su. “By not providing an itemized statement, workers had no way to verify if the pay they received covered all hours worked. This routine practice by the employers is nothing less than an act of wage theft.”
In the complaint filed against Rosecrans King Car Wash, the Labor Commissioner found that between January 2009 and the present, the company routinely and systematically failed to pay workers all wages earned. Evidence obtained shows that the employer did not pay workers for all hours worked, which resulted in workers not being paid proper minimum wage and overtime. The lawsuit filed seeks $1,698,732 in minimum wage, overtime and penalties as well as attorney fees.
The second complaint is filed against B.B.L Investment Corporation, d.b.a. Wilshire Car Wash, and V5 Car Wash LLC, d.b.a. Vermont Auto Spa, for violations found between March 2009 and August 2010. V5 Car Wash is the successor carwash to B.B.L. Investment Corporation. The investigation by the Labor Commissioner found that B.B.L Investment Corporation used the same facility and workforce to offer substantially the same services between March 2009 and August 2010 when operations continued under V5 Car Wash. Both entities were acting at all times within the course and scope of an employment partnership or joint venture. Under California law, this makes V5 the legal successor to B.B.L. Investment Corporation.
“The law is intended to address the problem of shell games, where employers caught violating the law simply close one entity down and open a new one under a different name,” said Su. “When this happens, both the original employer and the successor entity are responsible for making sure workers are paid.”
The lawsuit filed seeks $348,732 in minimum wages, overtime, and penalties for meal and rest period violations as well as attorney fees.
For information on wage and hour laws, and how to file a wage claim, please visit: www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/dlseWagesAndHours.html. Employees with work-related questions or complaints can call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at 1-866-924-9757.
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