Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Wash employees allege wage theft and abuse in NM

June 5, 2012

SANTA FE, NM — At least 10 workers here filed complaints with the city alleging violations of a wage ordinance. They also filed wage-theft claims with the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, HispanicBusiness.com reported.

The June 1 story stated that the men have put up with the wage abuse for years, but they decided to speak out because they could not tolerate the mental, physical and verbal abuse of Squeaky Clean Car Wash’s Manager Frank Mojarro or Owner Jay Ritter any longer.

The employees claim that customer tips are sometimes taken by Ritter “to pay the water bill.” Also, if floor mats are missing, if an employee is late or if something gets broken, the tips are withheld.

According to the workers, compensation for damage to customer vehicles is not paid by a company damage fund. Instead, Ritter will ask the employees if they want to pay with cash, with their tips or with their checks.

One worker claims he was forced to return to work with an injured finger, another says he was sprayed with a water hose during cold weather. Further, the workers allege that Ritter and Mojarro threatened to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement if the workers kept complaining.

The workers formed a Squeaky Clean Workers Committee, and 10 workers sent two letters to Ritter asking for better treatment, improved working conditions and the $10.29 hourly wage stipulated by the city ordinance.

Ritter declined to speak when several attempts were made to contact him, but his attorney, George Adelo, called the claims “pathetic” and said the carwash’s records were impeccable.