Car Wash - Photo courtesy of Pixabay

An Inglewood car wash has been fined $908,998 for alleged wage theft violations, the Labor Commissioner’s Office announced Tuesday.

The state labor department said its investigation found that 15 workers at Shine N Brite car wash were paid a flat daily rate as low as $70 for eight to 10 hours of work.

Workers who complained to the employer regarding wage theft and safety issues faced retaliation, including dismissal or reduced hours, according to the labor regulators.

The employer was cited for minimum wage, overtime and rest break violations.

“These workers were paid as low as $7 an hour, which is unconscionable,” Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower said in a statement.

“This employer used different schemes to avoid paying legal wages, such as paying flat daily rates, and paying workers in cash,” she said. “These practices are unlawful, and we will pursue all owed wages.”

In June 2020, the Labor Commissioner’s Office opened an investigation into Shine N Brite after receiving a referral from the CLEAN Car Wash Campaign. An audit of payroll records determined that the employer failed to pay workers for all hours worked and did not provide workers with required meal and rest breaks.

As part of the total amount due, $818,548 is payable to workers for unpaid minimum wages and overtime, liquidated damages, waiting time penalties, meal and rest period premiums, wage statement damages and accrued interest, the labor commissioner said.

Individual workers are owed between $15,766 and $92,246.

The citations issued to Danmike Corp., Emunahahavah Corp. and Michael Zarabi — doing business as Shine N Brite — also include civil penalties of $90,450 for failing to pay minimum wages, overtime, and meal and rest premiums, according to the labor office.

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