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San Francisco city attorney sues car wash for wage theft


A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle detailed a lawsuit that was filed by a city attorney against a local car wash for failing to properly pay a significant number of workers.

In addition to the city attorney, La Raza Centro Legal, an immigrant legal service groups, helped filed the suit. The group alleges the car wash violated state and local wage laws when it repeatedly forced employees to report for work hours before they were allowed to clock in. After these workers arrived, the suit claims, they had to wait in a small, windowless room until the car wash's management said the location was sufficiently busy.

Furthermore, the workers were not paid for these hours, despite the car wash's strict policy on arriving early. The city attorney claims the company threatened to fire the workers if they did not show up early.

In addition, some employees had to pay for childcare for the hours they waited before going on the clock. Some days, workers were sent home with no earnings at all.

"[The] car wash demonstrates a clever but no less illegal way of robbing [its] employees of wages," city attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement. "Forcing workers to endure hours of unpaid waiting before being allowed to work for minimum wage violates the law, and exploits the working men and women San Francisco needs to protect."

The case highlights the importance of instituting and adhering to legal business practices, as well as abiding by any state or industry regulations. Failure to do so may result in expensive professional liability lawsuits, such as this one. 

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