The state Labor Commissioner’s Office Monday announced the filing of a lawsuit against a Bellflower-based mobile car wash company for allegedly misclassifying employees as independent contractors in violation of labor laws.

The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges Mobile Wash Inc., which does business as MobileWash, misclassified at least 100 workers, harming both the workers and law-abiding businesses in the car washing industry.

The suit asks the court to order MobileWash to stop misclassifying its employees and to halt its operations using employee labor until it meets California’s car wash registration and bond requirements.

The suit also seeks the recovery of allegedly unpaid wages, plus penalties and interest on behalf of workers retroactive to April 2017, as well as civil penalties and any costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

An employee who answered the phone at the company and was asked about the suit replied, “I’m sorry, I’m unaware of the situation.” The suit is the first filed by the Labor Commissioner’s Office to enforce Assembly Bill 5, the 2019 law that requires the application of a test to determine if workers in California are employees or independent contractors. A worker is considered an employee unless he or she is free from control from the hiring entity, performs work outside of the hiring entity’s usual business and engages in an accepted independent trade or occupation.

“Willful misclassification of workers harms not only workers, but law-abiding employers and the public,” said California Labor Commissioner Lilia Garcia-Brower.

MobileWash uses a phone app to offer car washing and detailing services to customers throughout Southern California and a few locations in Northern California, the suit states. The company requires its workers to use their own cars and buy their own uniforms, insurance, cleaning equipment, supplies and gas and does not reimburse the workers for those business expenses, the suit states.

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