East Flatbush

Brooklyn car wash taken to court for cheating 150 employees

January 25, 2018 By Paul Frangipane Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he filed a lawsuit against a Brooklyn car wash that allegedly cheated its workers. Eagle file photo by Paul Frangipane
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Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is taking an East Flatbush car wash that cheated more than 150 employees out of their wages, to court for nearly $1.6 million in damages and penalties, officials announced Thursday.

The lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court alleges that the owners and managers of Tropical Breeze Car Wash between Utica Avenue and Linden Boulevard, underpaid workers by over a total $540,000 in wages and benefits over at least six years.

While paying some employees on the books and some off, owner, Benno Gmuer and managers, Philip Gmuer and Gregory Gmuer allegedly cut time cards to trim hours and avoid paying overtime from 2012 to 2018.

The car wash also allegedly denied reimbursement for uniforms and denied employees of sick leave.

To dodge insurance payments, the AG alleged the company underreported its employee count and payroll numbers.

Of the total $1.6 million, Schneiderman hopes to collect $542,684 in wages and benefits and over $475,000 in penalties.

“Every worker deserves an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work,” said Schneiderman in the statement. “Yet we allege that Tropical Breeze Car Wash shamefully stiffed workers at every turn. We’re taking them to court and seeking to recover every penny of unpaid wages for these workers, plus damages and penalties for the company’s egregious conduct.”

The lawsuit is the latest in the attorney general’s campaign to flush out corrupt car washes in New York, recovering more than $2.5 million for 1,000 workers at 26 washes to date.

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