Coronavirus-plagued Los Angeles Apparel has agreed to respond by next week to a subpoena seeking speedy turnover of information regarding its sick leave policies and number of employees, the City Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
The city filed a Los Angeles Superior Court petition Wednesday seeking compliance with the subpoena that was served nearly three weeks ago, noting that the county Department of Public Health has documented more than 300 confirmed coronavirus cases among Los Angeles Apparel’s employees.
“Tragically, four of the company’s employees have died from the virus,” the petition states. “The scope of the LA Apparel outbreak was massive.”
The City Attorney’s Office reported Thursday afternoon that the South Los Angeles company has agreed to respond next week.
A representative for LA Apparel, which pivoted to producing face masks amid the pandemic, did not reply to a request for comment. But company founder Dov Charney has denied that the company did not protect its workers and inform them of positive cases and has asserted there’s no problem in his factory.
“There was no outbreak here,” he told Business Insider late last month, contending that a 15% infection rate among his staff was commensurate with the rate in South Los Angeles as a whole.
“I’m not alleging conspiracy,” he told the publication. “I’m alleging that certain people at the (health) department are misleading the public because they’re looking for a political win.”
According to the petition, garment workers are often paid well below the minimum wage and frequently do not receive pay for breaks or overtime. They also work in crowded conditions, are often undocumented and many times are afraid to speak out about the conditions under which they must work.
“As a result, these workers are vulnerable to employer mistreatment and extremely dependent not only on their jobs, but also on sick leave,” the petition states.
To assess LA Apparel’s compliance with the city’s sick leave laws, the company was served with a subpoena July 17, the petition states. However, the firm did not turn over anything by the subpoena’s return date of July 31, nor did management serve any written objections to the requests, the petition states.
The city offered to extend the subpoena’s deadline to Aug. 14, but until Thursday LA Apparel had refused to commit to provide the requested documents and information before Aug. 31, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
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