The U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday that it has assessed $1.5 million in back wages and liquidated damages for Southland garment industry workers since the start of 2018.
Violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act revealed by 147 Wage and Hour Division investigations of garment factories in the region resulted in payments due to 668 employees during the year, according to the Labor Department.
Many of the investigations disclosed employees who were paid well below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 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.
“We still find high rates of noncompliance even after years of strong education and outreach efforts balanced with targeted enforcement in the garment industry,” said Ruben Rosalez, Wage and Hour Division regional administrator. “These employees are regularly denied minimum wage and overtime for the long, hard hours they put in on the job.”
“All those in the industry need to recognize that if the price they pay for production done in the U.S. is too low, it can cause egregious minimum wage and overtime violations, unfairly undercutting their competition,” he said.
Notable results of the Wage and Hour Division’s 2018 investigations in Los Angeles include:
— $49,974 to 32 employees after Valle Fashion failed to pay overtime to employees who, in many cases, earned less than the federal minimum wage. Valle also failed to maintain adequate time records;
— $61,765 to 18 employees who DAWA Fashion failed to pay at least the federal minimum wage and overtime. Investigators determined DAWA used computer software to falsify pay records;
— $32,623 to 11 employees after KIT failed to pay employees the federal minimum wage and overtime. Investigators also cited KIT for record-keeping violations; and
— $54,211 to 16 employees for the failure of Casa Q to pay employees the federal minimum wage and overtime. WHD also cited Casa Q for record-keeping violations.
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