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Release Number: 2023-37
Date: May 4, 2023

California Labor Commissioner Collects Nearly $3 Million in Wages and Penalties, Searches For Workers to Provide Payment Recovered from Two Towing Companies

Santa Ana—The Labor Commissioner’s Office (LCO) has collected $2.9 million in wages and penalties owed to 187 former tow truck drivers, dispatchers and mechanics who worked for Pride Towing in Anaheim and Stride Towing and Recovery in Oakland. To date, 96 workers have received nearly $1.6 million in back wages and penalties, and the LCO is searching for 91 employees who worked for the companies between June 15, 2014 and February 16, 2017 to provide them with their earned wages.  

“My office used every tool available to get owed wages to workers,” said Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower. “This case demonstrates the blatant disregard by some employers for paying judgments. Furthermore, the time it takes to recover the money creates another barrier in finding the workers. We now need the media’s help in amplifying this case to encourage workers to contact us quickly to be paid.”

Employees who worked for Pride Towing in Anaheim from June 15, 2014 to February 16, 2017 and for Stride Towing in Oakland from August 15, 2015 to February 16, 2017 are urged to call the LCO at (833) 526-4636 for information on how to collect their back wages.

The Labor Commissioner’s Office cited the companies, owned and operated by Noel Yaqo and his son Aram Yaco, in 2017 for violations of minimum wage, overtime, meal and rest periods for 129 workers at Pride Towing and 58 workers at Stride Towing. The citations included liquidated damages and waiting time penalties, as well as itemized wage statement violations. Once the citations were affirmed after appeal, judgments were issued for over $4.8 million.

Since 2018, the LCO has been working to collect the money owed on judgments using available tools and laws that allow the office to directly issue notices of levies on employers’ property to banks and third parties, and hold that property until the judgment is satisfied. More information on how to collect wages after workers get a judgment can be found online.

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