The U.S. Department of Labor announced Wednesday that it has assessed $1.6 million in back wages and liquidated damages for Southland garment industry workers since the start of 2017.
Violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act were found in 94 percent of 129 Wage and Hour Division investigations of garment factories in the region, resulting in payments due to 1,377 employees during the year, according to the Labor Department. The department also assessed an additional $36,000 in civil penalties associated with the investigations.
Many of the investigations disclosed employees who were paid well below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, with some receiving as little as $4.27 per hour. Investigators also found employers often failed to pay employees overtime at time-and-a-half of their regular rates of pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a week, as required by the FLSA.
Department officials continue to meet with retailers to encourage them to avoid non-compliant manufacturers and to buy only from suppliers that comply with federal labor laws, the agency said.
“In addition to our outreach efforts in this industry, we continue our investigations in Southern California to ensure local garment employees receive their rightfully earned pay,” said Ruben Rosalez, Wage and Hour Division regional administrator. “Unfortunately, we continue to find wage violations at nine out of every 10 facilities we investigate.”
“Manufacturers that fail to pay their employees minimum wage and overtime have a negative impact on the garment industry by unfairly undercutting their competition,” he said.
–City News Service