In the latest twist in the ongoing “carwasheros” controversy, an investigative piece by the Washington Post this weeks takes a look at the types of abuse employees of car washes in Virginia go through. The story looks at the plight of undocumented workers there who are taken advantage of in an industry that is not heavily regulated.
Reporters found that workers in many car washes that employed undocumented workers committed wage fraud by demanding long hours and refusing to pay overtime. Many of the same workers were also classified as contractors rather than full-time employees.
Classifying employees that way means employers can avoid paying income tax and don’t have to adhere to federal laws protecting their workers. The article highlights car washes as a business where this kind of abuse is prevalent, but it’s not the only one. Virginia estimates 214,000 workers in the state are being improperly classified. State investigators have gotten nearly 20,000 wage and hour violation complaints so far this year.
The Washington Post reports that several car wash businesses have been taken to court over wage disputes.