California Car Wash Workers To Get $1 Million In Settlement

car wash employees back payWorking at a car wash may not be the most glamorous job, but for workers at several of them in California it's gotten a little more rewarding.

Owners of eight car washes across the state have agreed to pay more than $1 million in back wages and penalties for underpaying the workers and denying them rest and meal breaks, the state's top law enforcement officer announced this week.

"Workers at these car washes were taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers who illegally denied them the pay and benefits they earned," said California Attorney General Kamala Harris. "I am pleased that the resolution of this case will allow workers to receive the pay they are owed."

The businesses required employees to report to work several hours in advance and be available, unpaid, until business picked up, officials said in a statement. When workers were paid, many received paychecks that couldn't be cashed because of a lack of company funds.

Further, the statement said, the car washes operated for years without the licenses required under California law.

Investigators interviewed more than 80 workers at the eight car washes, including ones in Santa Monica, Venice, Irvine, Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel.

Current Gov. Jerry Brown filed the lawsuit against the car wash operators in October 2010, when he was then the state's attorney general.

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