California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su filed two separate lawsuits against three Los Angeles carwash businesses, Rosecrans King Car Wash, Wilshire Car Wash and Vermont Auto Spa, in Los Angeles Superior Court. The lawsuits seek unpaid wages, penalties and damages totaling in excess of $2,047,464, for alleged failure to provide minimum wage and overtime to employees, among other alleged violations, following the heels of an investigation conducted by the California Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (Labor Commissioner’s Office).
The complaint filed against Rosecrans King Car Wash, alleged that the company routinely and systematically failed to pay workers all wages earned. Evidence proffered will allegedly show that the employer did not pay workers for all hours worked, resulting in workers not being paid proper minimum wage and overtime, for which the Labor Commissioner seeks $1,698,732 in minimum/overtime wages and penalties as well as attorney fees. “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.
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 alleged record keeping violations and failure to issue itemized wage deduction statements. “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. 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,” stated Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. This lawsuit seeks $348,732 in minimum wages, overtime, and penalties for meal and rest period violations as well as attorney fees.
Of significance, as pointed out by the Labor Commissioner, is that B.B.L. Investment Corporation d.b.a. Wilshire Car Wash allegedly closed down only to open another car wash under a new name, V5 Car Wash LLC, d.b.a. Vermont Auto Spa, allegedly using the same facility and workforce and providing basically the same services. The complaint alleges that both entities were acting at all times within the course and scope of an employment partnership or joint venture which, under California law, allegedly makes V5 Car Wash 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.” Read more.