SANTA MONICA, CA ― A wage theft charge has been made against the Wilshire West Car Wash LLC and its parent company Maxxam Enterprises III, LLC. by the California Labor Commissioner and the Santa Monica City Consumer Protection Unit, a press release featured in The Sacramento Bee reported.
The Jan. 23 press release stated that the Labor Commission started investing the carwash and Owner Mehdi Soroudi, General Manager Gary Pendleton, and supervisors Rigoberto Torres and Remberto Viramonte, last June.
"Wage theft hurts workers, honest employers, and the honest tax payer," Department of Industrial Relations Director Christine Baker stated in the press release. "California's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement plays a critical role in enforcing labor laws and preventing wage theft. Employers who deny the workers their pay will be held accountable."
California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su said the criminal charges filed send a strong message to employers who engage in wage theft. "Our office initially investigated Wilshire West Car Wash and saw the myriad ways workers were being cheated out of the pay they were entitled to, and the schemes utilized to cover up the wage theft such as off-the-clock work and falsified records. I am proud that we were able to bring these abuses to light and now to work with the Santa Monica City Attorney's office to prosecute them," Su stated in the press release.
Those charged are accused of altering employee time records and creating false time records; failing to give the workers a paid rest period or meal break; and then forcing workers to sign statements stating they had received paid breaks. Those charged are also accused of "threatening, harassing and punishing those workers who questioned the illegal actions," according to the press release.
To read the entire press release, click here.