Workers in California and across the nation are protected by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which defines employee hourly wages, breaks and other benefits. Employers who do not follow these regulations may be charged with violations and face serious fines as a result.
This is what happened to a car wash owner in Southern California who failed to pay minimum wage to more than 800 employees throughout Ventura, San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles counties. The business owner took advantage of employees, including Spanish-speaking workers who were unaware of United States labor laws and encouraged them to work off the clock. Prosecutors are working to find the names of all workers who were employed at the 12 car washes from 2013 to the present.
The business owner was ordered to pay $1.9 million in damages and $1.9 million in back wages by a U.S. District Court judge. The owner is also under fire for destroying email accounts, worker surveillance videos, text messages and other documents that were deemed evidence for the case, as well as using coercion toward employees.
When workers in California feel as though they are not being paid a fair amount, given adequate breaks or earning the benefits they deserve, they may want to speak to an attorney regarding their case. An attorney may be able to look at the details involved in the situation and help you explore all potential legal options.
Source: The Orange County Register, “Southern California car wash mogul to pay $4.2 million for cheating 800 workers,” Margot Roosevelt, Jul.18, 2018.