U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Los Angeles Garment Contractor Paying $53,876 to 21 Employees to Resolve Wage Violations
LOS ANGELES, CA – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), ESS Apparel Inc. – a garment sewing contractor based in Los Angeles, California – will pay $53,876 to 21 employees for violating the minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
WHD investigators found ESS Apparel Inc. paid employees a flat amount for each piece they sewed, without regard to the number of hours that they worked. This practice resulted in minimum wage violations when those piece rates failed to cover all the hours employees worked at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, and in overtime violations when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek yet were not paid overtime. ESS Apparel also violated FLSA's recordkeeping requirements by failing to maintain complete and accurate time records. The majority of the employer's employees did not appear in the ESS Apparel's records and the employer paid them in cash.
"Employers must not allow unlawful labor practices that hurt hardworking employees and prevent law-abiding employers from competing on a level playing field," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Rodolfo Cortez, in San Diego, California. "Violations like these must be avoided."
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by WHD.