November 13, 2013
Radinsky, Head, Consumer Protection Unit
Monica City Attorney's Office
Wilshire West Car Wash, LLC, one of the largest car washes in Santa Monica,
today pled No Contest to six misdemeanor charges including failure to pay
minimum wage and failure to provide meal periods and paid breaks.
criminal case was filed earlier this year by the Santa Monica City Attorney’s
case arose out of a joint investigation by the City Attorney’s Office, the
California Labor Commissioner's Office, and the U.S. Department of Labor. The
investigation found that numerous labor laws were being violated at the car
paying employees for all hours worked
providing paid break periods
paying employees for time they waited on stand-by status when business was slow
employees to take multiple unpaid "lunch" breaks each day when
business was slow
supervisors at Wilshire West also entered criminal pleas as part of the
agreement: General manager Gary Pendleton pled No Contest to six criminal
counts including failure to pay minimum wage and failure to provide meal
periods and paid break periods. Supervisor Rigoberto Torres pled No Contest to
a charge of failing to provide paid break periods.
pleas were entered today at the LAX courthouse of the L.A. County Superior
car wash industry in Southern California has come under scrutiny in recent
years for alleged labor law violations. In 2011, Santa Monica became home to
the nation's first unionized car wash, Bonus Car Wash on Lincoln Boulevard.
the terms of the plea agreement with prosecutors:
West must provide full back pay to all 75 affected former and current
employees, for the three-year period covered by the investigation. The total
amount of the back pay is $656,547.00.
West is placed on three years' probation, under which the car wash must follow
detailed rules to assure its compliance with the labor laws. These include:
must pay car wash employees for all hours worked, including time on stand-by
status when they are waiting to be re-called to work.
can't require employees to work "off the clock" before, during, or
after their shift.
must give employees a true meal period of at least 30 minutes when they are
free from the employer's control.
must give employees a paid 10-minute rest period for every four hours worked.
can't alter time or payroll records to reduce the number of hours actually
worked by an employee.
West must pay fines and penalties of approximately $8,000.00. If it violates
its probation, the car wash must pay additional fines and penalties of
West must pay the agencies' investigative costs.
the terms of his agreement with prosecutors, manager Gary Pendleton must
complete 120 hours of community service within the next year. Supervisor
Rigoberto Torres must perform 12 days of hard labor within the next year. These
amounts may be doubled if either man violates the terms of his court order.
is an excellent result," said Deputy City Attorney Adam Radinsky.
"The workers get full back pay, some over $21,000.00 each. The company has
to clean up its act going forward, or the court will make sure of that."
West Car Wash is located at 2320 Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica.