Workers at two car washes in Los Angeles who were allegedly deprived of fair wages will receive more than $1 million in restitution under a legal settlement announced Tuesday by City Attorney Mike Feuer.
The Silver Lake Car Wash and Catalina Car Wash allegedly deprived workers of minimum wages, overtime and rest breaks on a routine basis, while also being subjected to intimidation and witness tampering, Feuer said.
“The result we think is the most significant amount ever paid in restitution to car wash workers here in Los Angeles, as far as we know,” Feuer said.
Under the terms of the settlement, Silver Lake Car Wash Inc., Catalina Car Wash Inc., and the primary supervisor at the two car washes, Yoosef Aminpour, have agreed to pay more than $1 million in restitution to around 60 individuals employed at the car washes from Jan. 18, 2014, to June 30, 2018.
Aminpour could not be reached for comment.
The defendants have also agreed to pay $519,027 in civil penalties, as well as $35,996 in litigation costs to the City Attorney’s Office.
The defendants will also be placed under a four-year injunction requiring complete compliance with all applicable wage-and-hour laws and regulations, Feuer said.
Feuer announced the settlement at a news conference at City Hall East, and was joined by three men who are alleged victims, including at least one whom still works at one of the businesses.
The lawsuit also alleged that the management of the car washes falsified payroll records, attempted to tamper with witnesses and secure false testimony in the litigation, including by threatening and/or bribing employees. The car washes also allegedly failed to give rest or meal breaks to their employees, and did not provide proper safety equipment, forcing some workers to buy their own gloves and boots.
Feuer said the settlement is the result of a collaboration among his office, the Criminal Investigation Unit of the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, the Bet Tzedek Employment Rights Project, and the Community Labor Environmental Action Network, a nonprofit community organization that advocates for the rights of car wash workers and other low-wage workers in the Los Angeles area.