Octopus Car Wash ordered to pay back nearly 300 employees

Published: Aug. 26, 2013 at 9:51 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 4:15 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The U.S. Department of Labor is forcing a Tucson car wash company to pay back wages to nearly 300 employees.

Octopus Car Wash has been reportedly making its workers clock out during downtime and keeping them at work in case things picked up. This happened at all three car wash locations in Tucson, including the ones on East 22nd Street and North Thornydale and West Valencia roads.

Octopus has had to pay more than $300,000 to its employees. This happened over the course of two years between August 2010 and August 2012.

The Octopus Car Wash on Thornydale near Orange Grove was also fined for overworking three teenagers as young as 14 years old.

Jesus Olivares of the U.S. Dept. of Labor said, "The message here is the employees have to get paid for wait time even if there are no cars to be attended. If the employer is still controlling their time, employees should be paid."

Octopus released this statement today:

"The US Department of Labor conducted an audit of local car washes including Octopus Car Wash in 2012. THe Department of Labor identified that Octopus' frequency and duration of unpaid breaks exceeded the limits of current federal law. As a result of the findings, Octopus was required to review all timecards and to compensate employees who were affected over the last three years.

Octopus Car Wash has already paid back wages to those employees who are still employed by Octopus. For those who are not a payment has been made to the Department of Labor which is responsible for reimbursing the affected employees. Octopus has also consulted a lawyer specializing in Arizona labor laws to ensure that all of their timekeeping policies are in compliance with federal and local laws.

-Octopus Car Wash Owners and Management"

The U.S. Department of Labor says some employees were "off the clock" while at work for up to three hours a day.

The company has paid back around a hundred of its current employees. But there are still 200 who are unaccounted for.

If you or anyone you know worked at an Octopus Car Wash at Thornydale and Orange Grove between August 2010 and 2012, you may be owed money.

You can contact the U.S. Department of Labor 1-866-4-USA-DOL, or the Mexican Consulate.

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