LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A two-day sweep of car wash businesses in the Los Angeles area uncovered 35 businesses that failed to register with the state, and an estimated $1.3 million-plus in wage theft, the California Labor Commissioner’s Office said.

A two-day sweep found that nearly 400 workers were not getting paid enough under state wage and hour laws.

Violations cited included the failure to pay workers minimum wage and overtime, which resulted in $412,200 in penalties and $308,584 in liquidated damages, the agency reported. An additional 17 violations, with citations totaling $218,000, were issued to car washes that did not carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

“These citations serve as a reminder that wage theft will not be tolerated. The Labor Commissioner’s office targets its enforcement efforts on employers who intentionally skirt the law,” said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations, in a statement.

The 35 unregistered car wash businesses reflect a significant drop in registration from 2013 to 2014.

“When car wash businesses fail to register, it is often an indicator of wage theft,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su in a statement. “We want to make sure car wash workers are paid what they are owed and that employers who follow the law know we are on their side.”

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