Happy Hands Car Washers Have Too-Thin Wallets, Feds Allege

Happy Hands Car Washers Have Too-Thin Wallets, Feds Allege

Years ago, I chatted up the fellow drying off my ride at an Orange County car wash and, through broken English, was informed he only earned daily tips and if he did not show up to work he need not bother coming back.

At least the Happy Hands Car Wash at 1205 W. 17th St. in Santa Ana is better than that to workers. But the way the Happy Hands owner pays employees still spurred a federal lawsuit.

The U.S. Department of Labor accused Z&H Happy Hands Corp. in Santa Ana federal court recently of repeatedly failing to pay workers for all of the hours they worked. Minimum wage, overtime pay and other damages are being sought for them, according to court documents.

The feds allege Happy Hands cooked the books to show employees worked fewer hours than they actually had. Most worked more than 40 hours a week and earned less than $3.50 an hour despite the $7.25-per-hour federal minimum wage, according to the complaint.

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Of course, what the government oh so conveniently leaves out is workers could take all the pine tree-shaped air fresheners they could stuff in their pockets.

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