Under threat of litigation, Jiffy Lube Inc. has agreed to step up environmental protection at its 300-plus locations in California. Launch a training program for all employees to ensure franchises adhere to state and local environmental laws;
California Attorney General Jerry Brown and 12 counties went after the oil-change giant after state inspectors found some franchises weren't properly storing anti-freeze and motor oil.
"Some employees were not regularly inspecting their storage containers to prevent oil and antifreeze from spilling or leaking," Brown said in a statement.
"Under today's agreement, Jiffy Lube will launch a program to ensure that storage containers are in good working order to avoid spills and overflows," he said.
Jiffy Lube cooperated with investigators, handing over "voluminous records," according to a statement from Brown's office. The company will pay $500,000 in civil fines and legal fees.
According to the agreement, Jiffy Lube will:
Hire an outside consultant to conduct audits, and allow access to Jiffy Lube locations for inspections
Ensure that all facilities have proper storage equipment for both used and unused oil and antifreeze
Under California's Health and Safety Code, oil change facilities must store oil and anti-freeze in double-layered containers to prevent leaks or spills from contaminating the surrounding environment.
Local officials found that Jiffy Lube employees were not properly inspecting those containers for leaks, and had not regularly checked that the containers weren't being over-filled.
In a statement, Jiffy Lube stressed that "franchisees are independently responsible for compliance with state and local environmental laws at their locations."
After the settlement, Jiffy Lube will write environmental compliance into its franchise agreements. The company will revoke its franchise agreement with any site with three uncorrected environmental violations.
Any Jiffy Lube location that does not have proper storage containers will stop collecting used motor oil until a suitable container can be brought on site.
"Jiffy Lube International, Inc. (JLI) has been working in full cooperation with the California Attorney General's office and various District Attorneys' offices from around the state for an extensive period of time regarding the issues related to the recent statewide settlement," the company said in a statement emailed to LegalNewsLine.
The original complaint in this case was a coordinated effort between Attorney General Brown and county district attorneys in Alameda, Los Angeles, Marin, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, Solano and Ventura, along with the Los Angeles City Attorney.
Both sides agreed to settle out of court.