Lien authority protects unpaid California workers

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2022 | Wage & Hour |

People understandably expect to receive payment for the work they perform. Unfortunately, one large employer operating a chain of car washes in California allegedly did not abide by this rule. However, California’s Labor Commissioner’s Office recently took a new approach to obtain money for a group of unfairly treated former employees.

An investigation into Classic Castle Car Wash, Inc.

In 2017, the Labor Commissioner’s Office received a referral that Classic Castle Car Wash, Inc wasn’t fairly paying its employees. After investigating these claims, the company received over $370,000 in citations for wage theft violations. Initially, the offending company made regular payments to pay off this citation. In 2020, the payments stopped.

The enforcement lien bill

In 2021, an important way to help victims of wage and hour law violations went into effect. This was when SB 572 passed, authorizing the Labor Commissioner to create a lien on properties to secure past-due payments from offending companies.

During this time, employees learned that another business planned to purchase Classic Castle Car Wash, Inc. Understandably, the workers believed the sale of this business was an attempt to avoid paying Classic Castle Car Wash, Inc’s victims of wage theft. As a countermeasure, the Labor Commissioner placed a lien on Classic Castle Car Wash Inc’s properties.

Classic Castle Car Wash, Inc must pay over $282,000 split among 22 prior employees of this company. These workers alleged they were frequently not paid for the time they spent at their place of employment. Many of these people were also not paid for their overtime shifts. The company must also pay $53,000 to the state of California in civil penalties.