IMMEDIATE ACTION by CA Car Wash Operators!
May 15, 2012
AB 2517 was recently passed out of a California legislative committee and is headed to the Senate Judiciary Committee. AB2517 would allow car wash workers to record a lien on their employers' property that takes precedence over all other nontax liens and sue, within one year, to enforce the lien.
This bill was backed by an advocacy group that cited a 2008 report in the Los Angeles Times that said more than two-thirds of car washes inspected by California over five years were violating labor laws, with some paying their employees less than half of the minimum wage.
CLICK HERE for assessment of AB2517 by Gary Bethel (WCA employer attorney)
AB 2517 will now advance to a Tuesday vote by the Judiciary Committee.
PLEASE take a few minutes to call members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to let them know how this will negatively affect you, it is important to contact committee members even if they are not in your district:
Senator Noreen Evans (D)
State Capital, Room 4034
Sacramento CA 94280-0001
Senator Sam Blakeslee
State Capitol, Room 4070
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-8081 Fax
Senator Ellen Corbett (D)
State Capital Room 313
Sacramento, CA 94280-0001
Senator Tom Harmon
State Capitol, Room 5094
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-9263 Fax
Senator Mark Leno (D)
State Capital, Room 5100
Sacramento, CA 94280-0001
*Senate Judiciary Staff
Chief Counsel Saskia Kim
State Capital, Room 2187
Sacramento CA 94248
*Important to send to
Let them know that this bill is based on old data (2008) and that our licensing process for car washes already require a bond and have the funds to assist any claims for back wages. Help us stop this bill which unfairly targets car wash businesses!
WCA Executive Director
IMMEDIATE ACTION by CA Car Wash Operators!
May 15, 2012
Senator Bob Dutton has introduced SB1186 (see SB1186) that will help prevent the "legal shakedown" by unscrupulous attorneys targeting California businesses for ADA violations. This bill will allow businesses a 90 day window to address ADA infractions with fear of litigation.
The bill will be reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee before moving on to the full Senate.
PLEASE take a few minutes to send a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Be sure to copy Senator Fienstien and the Chief of Staff of the Judiciary Committee (included in the list below)
Click Here for a sample letter (modify as you wish)
Click Here for a list of Senators on the Judiciary Committee
Help us stop these this pervasive practice of extorting money from California businesses (including many car washes) for minor or unintended breaches in ADA compliance, by not allowing time to rectify these issues.
WCA Executive Director
California Labor Commissioner Files Two Wage and Hour Lawsuits Against Car Washes
LOS ANGELES—California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su March 6 filed two separate lawsuits against three Los Angeles car wash businesses, seeking unpaid wages, penalties, and damages totaling more than $2 million for numerous alleged wage and hour law violations (Su v. BBL Inv. Corp. d/b/a Wilshire Car Wash, Cal. Super. Ct., No. BC480260, complaint filed 3/6/12; Su v. Rosecrans Car Wash Inc., Cal. Super. Ct., No. BC479628, complaint filed 3/6/12).
The lawsuits mark another step in the state's years-long effort to force the car wash industry, with its immigrant-heavy workforce, to comply with labor laws, particularly those covering minimum wage, overtime pay, and recordkeeping.
Both complaints allege violations of minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping laws, and failure to issue itemized wage deduction statements as required by law.
In its complaint against Rosecrans King Car Wash, Su said investigators from the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement found that between January 2009 and the present, the company “routinely and systematically failed to pay workers all wages earned.”
The complaint against Rosecrans King Car Wash seeks almost $1.7 million in minimum wage, overtime pay, penalties, and attorneys' fees.
The second complaint was filed against B.B.L. Investment Corp. and its Wilshire Car Wash business, and V5 Car Wash LLC, which does business under the name of Vermont Auto Spa, which became the successor car wash to B.B.L. Investment Corp.
The labor commissioner alleged that Wilshire Car Wash's violations occurred between March 2009 and August 2010, and continued after V5 Car Wash took control of the business.
“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,” Su said. “When this happens, both the original employer and the successor entity are responsible for making sure workers are paid.”
The complaint against B.B.L. and V5 seeks $348,732 in minimum wage, overtime, and penalties for meal and rest period violations, as well as attorneys' fees.
Abuse of Power Alleged
Mike Darkhor, owner of Rosecrans King, told Bloomberg BNA that the allegations against him were false and accused the labor commissioner's office of abusing its power. Rosecrans King has kept careful records of all payments to employees for years, he said, but the DLSE investigator who conducted the investigation at his car wash did not spend “even one second” with Darkhor to hear his side of the story.
Darkhor added that when he requested a subsequent meeting with the investigator, it was denied.
“They are a bunch of bullies who disrespect the law and abuse small businesses in California,” Darkhor said, adding that his car wash was facing foreclosure by its lender because of the recession-driven drop in business over the last several years.
Darkhor said his employees signed receipts every week that they had been paid in full, but some disgruntled employees went to the DLSE and complained that they weren't being paid for time they spent at the car wash before their shifts—when they were not scheduled to work.
An employee answering the phone at V5 said no one was available to comment on the lawsuit.
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IMPORTANT MESSAGE to California Full Serve Car Wash Operators!
On November 2, 2011 a Santa Monica car wash signed a union contract with the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (members of AFL-CIO) on behalf of its Carwash Workers Organizing Committee (CWOC) (see car wash union article). The CWOC has brought together a diverse coalition of labor, immigrant rights, religious, environmental, and community organizations called CLEAN, which stands for Community Labor Environmental Action Network. This group has mounted a CLEAN Car Wash Campaign in an attempt to organize unions at Southern California full serve car washes.
It is important that you be aware of employer rights and what to do in case a union approaches you. Please click here - union information to download a copy of some information about the "do's and don'ts" when it comes to union activities. These important documents are provided by CEA (California Employers Association) and Gary Bethel of Littler Mendelson; both of whom are WCA affinity business partners. I suggest you review the material carefully. If you have any questions please contact Scott Dear at the CEA, email@example.com, 800.399.5331 or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, 800.344.4135. If you are interested in participating in a meeting to discuss union issues and the 2012 labor law amendments let us know by completing this four question survey.
If you are not a WCA member, we encourage you to join and take advantage of it's benefits. Join WCA Today!
Summary and Important Points
Background On The Law Regarding Meal & Rest Periods
- In California, an employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than five hours per day without providing the employee with a meal period of not less than thirty minutes, except if the total work period per day of the employee is no more than six hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee.
- A second meal period of not less than thirty minutes is required if an employee works more than ten hours per day, except that if the total hours worked is no more than 12 hours, the second meal period may be waived by mutual consent of the employer and employee only if the first meal period was not waived. There are some industry specific exceptions to this requirement.
- Unless the employee is relieved of all duty during his or her thirty minute meal period, the meal period shall be considered an "on duty" meal period that is counted as hours worked which must be compensated at the employee's regular rate of pay.
- An "on duty" meal period shall be permitted only when the nature of the work prevents an employee from being relieved of all duty and when by written agreement between the employer and employee an on-the-job paid meal period is agreed to. The written agreement must state that the employee may, in writing, revoke the agreement at any time. Employers considering whether the “nature” of the work permits an “on duty” meal period should consult with experienced employment law counsel.
- If the employer requires the employee to remain at the work site or facility during the meal period, the meal period must be paid. This is true even where the employee is relieved of all work duties during the meal period.
- If an employer fails to provide an employee a meal period in accordance with an applicable IWC Order, the employer must pay one additional hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of pay for each workday that the meal period is not provided (Labor Code Section 226.7). This additional hour is not counted as hours worked for purposes of overtime calculations.
- In California, the IWC orders require that employers must authorize and permit non-exempt employees to take a rest period that must, insofar as practicable, be taken in the middle of each work period. The rest period is based on the total hours worked daily and must be at the minimum rate of a net ten consecutive minutes for each four hour work period, or major fraction thereof.
- The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) considers anything more than two hours to be a "major fraction" of four." A rest period is not required for employees whose total daily work time is less than three and one-half hours.
- The rest period is counted as time worked and therefore, the employer must pay for such periods. Since employees are paid for their rest periods, they can be required to remain on the employer's premises during such periods.
- There are some industry specific exceptions to the rest period requirements set forth in the IWC orders.
- If an employer fails to provide an employee a rest period in accordance with an applicable IWC Order, the employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of pay for each workday that the rest period is not provided (Labor Code Section 226.7). Thus, if an employer does not provide all of the rest periods required in a workday, the employee is entitled to one additional hour of pay for that workday, not one additional hour of pay for each rest period that was not provided during that workday. This additional hour is not counted as hours worked for purposes of overtime calculations.