Investigators from the California Labor Commissioner’s Office issued over $900,000 in fines to businesses in the car wash industry in a two-day statewide enforcement sweep, according to a press release from the California Department of Industrial Relations. The penalties included a total of $600,900 issued to 76 unlicensed carwash businesses that were cited for not having a registration.

“Requiring carwash businesses to register with the state allows us to focus on those businesses that undercut their competition, which makes it difficult for legitimate carwash businesses to stay in operation,” said California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet. “As part of the underground economy, these illegal businesses often do not pay state taxes, and take advantage of employees by not providing workers’ compensation coverage or paying proper wages.” The two day enforcement sweep, which began on Oct. 28, involved 42 investigators who conducted 230 car wash inspections and issued 141 citations against 103 car wash businesses with citations issued totaling $916,711.

Investigators found 49 businesses that failed to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Citations issued totaled $240,000 and businesses without workers’ compensation coverage were issued stop work orders, which prevents them from operating with employee labor.

Also found during the investigations were 12 cases where the employer did not provide employees a wage deduction statement, one case of improper payment of minimum wage and one case of improper payment of overtime. Two businesses were found to have hired minors without having the required work permits on file.

“Recently, AB 236 was signed by the governor, extending the law to 2014, to protect those workers in the carwash industry and to provide businesses the opportunity to come into compliance with labor laws,” added Bradstreet. “This registration allows us to better monitor situations where we have traditionally seen labor violations.”