California Labor Commissioner Cites Los Angeles Car Wash More than $900,000 for Wage Theft Violations
Los Angeles—The Labor Commissioner’s Office has cited Shine N Brite Car Wash $908,998 for wage theft violations affecting 15 workers. The Los Angeles-based employer was cited for minimum wage, overtime and rest break violations.
An investigation found that workers, who worked 8- to 10-hour days, were paid a flat daily rate as low as $70. Workers who complained to the employer regarding wage theft and safety issues faced retaliation, including dismissal or reduced hours.
“These workers were paid as low as $7 an hour, which is unconscionable,” said Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower. “This employer used different schemes to avoid paying legal wages, such as paying flat daily rates, and paying workers in cash. These practices are unlawful, and we will pursue all owed wages.”
In June 2020, the Labor Commissioner’s Office opened an investigation into Shine N Brite Car Wash after receiving a referral from the CLEAN Car Wash Campaign. An audit of payroll records determined that the employer failed to pay workers for all hours worked and did not provide workers with required meal and rest breaks.
The citations, penalties and interest issued total $908,998, of which $818,548 is payable to workers for unpaid minimum wages and overtime, liquidated damages, waiting time penalties, meal and rest period premiums, wage statement damages and accrued interest. Individual workers are owed between $15,766 and $92,246.
The citations issued to Danmike Corp., Emunahahavah Corp. and Michael Zarabi DBA Shine N Brite also include civil penalties of $90,450 for failing to pay minimum wages, overtime, and meal and rest premiums.
Enforcement investigations typically include a payroll audit of the previous three years to determine minimum wage, overtime, and other labor law violations, and to calculate payments owed and penalties due. When workers are paid less than minimum wage, they are entitled to liquidated damages that equal the amount of underpaid minimum wages plus interest.
The Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (California Labor Commissioner’s Office) combats wage theft and unfair competition by investigating allegations of illegal and unfair business practices.
The Labor Commissioner’s Office in 2020 launched an interdisciplinary outreach campaign, “Reaching Every Californian.” The campaign amplifies basic protections and builds pathways to affected populations, so workers and employers understand legal protections and obligations, as well as the Labor Commissioner’s enforcement procedures. Californians can follow the Labor Commissioner on Facebook and Twitter.
Media Contact: Communications@dir.ca.gov, (510) 286-1161
Employers with Questions on Requirements May Contact: MakeItFair@dir.ca.gov