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News Release

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.


Employment Standards Administration

ESA Press Release: Labor Department Collects $704,385 in Back Wages for Garment Workers [11/23/1998]

For more information call: 202/219-8211

The U.S. Department of Labor recovered $704,385 in back wages for 2,028 garment workers during April, May and June of this year for minimum wage and overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), according to the department's Garment Enforcement Report released today. Most of the violations were found in California.

The largest case included on the quarterly report involved Jeans Compostela, a sewing shop in Vernon, Calif., which did not pay its employees for two weeks, resulting in minimum wage and overtime violations. Following intervention by the department, the manufacturers, RSV Sport, Inc. of Commerce, Calif., Private Label Industries of Los Angeles, and Esprit of San Francisco ensured that 197 Jeans Compostela workers were paid $131,318 in back wages.

"Enforcement remains the critical piece of the Labor Department's no sweat' strategy, and these reports clearly show contractors, manufacturers, consumers and the entire garment industry that we take enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act very seriously," said Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman. "We will continue to target our investigations--in California and other major garment centers-- to where the work and the workers are most concentrated and where their rights are most in jeopardy."

During the time period covered by the report, the department's Wage and Hour division conducted 232 investigations, finding violations in 126 of those cases. The department assessed $103,205 in civil penalties for repeat and willful violations of the FLSA.

Sixty-five contractors and 135 manufacturers are listed on the report. California had the most investigations (101) this quarter; the most investigations with violations (72); the most back wages recovered ($346,656 for 1,010 employees); and the most civil penalties assessed ($86,955).

The department began issuing quarterly garment enforcement reports in May 1996 to provide retailers and consumers with information about which contractors violate the minimum wage and overtime law and which manufacturers were doing business with them. All quarterly garment enforcement reports are available on the Labor Department's Internet site at

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employment Standards Administration
November 23, 1998
Media Contact: David Roberts
Phone Number