Thursday, 7 July 2011

Former Los Angeles Car Wash Employee Receives $80,000 in Back Wages

A carwash worker in Los Angeles is set to receive $80,000 in back wages after he won a lawsuit that alleged that his employers forced him to report for work early in the morning, but did not allow him to clock in until several hours later in the day.

The lawsuit was filed by Tomas Rodriguez against Handy J Carwash. According to Rodriguez, he and his coworkers had their hours reduced after the owner of the carwash hired other employees to work only for tips. This is a common practice in the carwash industry. Workers are required to report to work early in the morning, but are not allowed to clock in until later. Because these workers are clocking in hours after they begin work, they receive pay for fewer hours. Rodriguez alleges in his lawsuit that as a result of these lower wages, he was not making enough money even to pay his rent and buy groceries.

The car wash owners pressured the workers to remain silent about the situation unless they wanted to be reported to federal immigration authorities. Not surprisingly to California employment lawyers, at least eight of the workers who were initially involved in the lawsuit, dropped out because of this pressure.

The Los Angeles Times has conducted investigations into working conditions in the carwash industry and their reports seem to indicate that carwash owners frequently violate both labor laws and immigration laws. Carwash owners frequently hire illegal immigrants, because they can be paid lower than the minimum wage. In fact, these immigrants are often forced to work only for tips. In that investigation, the Los Angeles Times concluded that the carwash industry has one of the worst records for compliance with California labor laws. Some of these violations include hiring of minor employees, and failing to buy Workers’ Compensation insurance.

No comments:

Post a Comment