The Labor Commissioner fined a Southern-California car wash for more than $2.36 million for alleged wage and hour violations. These fines included both civil penalties and wages owed to employees. This appears to be a continuation of the agency’s enforcement actions against commercial car washes from 2012 and 2015.

In addition to fining the company, the Labor Commissioner held both the company president and general manager jointly and separately liable (under Labor Code section 558.1) for these violations. (Individual liability means a manager or officer, or anyone else acting on behalf, of the company who violates or causes a violation of the Labor Code could be liable for paying out a lawsuit.)

The company’s activities affected at least 64 employees. This enforcement action was not triggered by employee complaints. Rather, the agency received information of potential violations from CLEAN, a non-profit corporation set up to assist employees of the car wash industry. The non-profit focuses its effort around targeting car washes in the Los Angeles area.

Employees of Centinela Car Wash Inc. and Playa Vista Car Wash recovered damages for violations of waiting time, split shifts, and overtime violations. The employees claimed their employer forced them to wait around the facility, without pay, before being told if they would be working that day. Further, employees claimed they worked more than eight hours without receiving overtime pay and alleged they failed to receive premium pay for split shifts. The employees also complained of improper recordkeeping practices.

The car wash also was fined for failing to register with the Labor Commissioner’s office as required under Labor Code Section 2054. In the past, failing to register had been only an initial trigger for an investigation.

If you have any questions about compliance with California wage and hour law, or other legal compliance issues, please contact the Jackson Lewis attorney(s) with whom you regularly work.