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Joe's Jeans Pays $159K in Back Wages to LA Garment Workers

January 20, 2011

Last month, our Chino Hills labor and employment attorneys discussed a wage and hour ruling in a blog, where former and current workers of a garment manufacturer in Westminster, California, were awarded more than $887,000 by a judge in back pay and liquidated damages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) discovered alleged wage and hour violations.

In a related case from this month, the clothing manufacturer Joe's Jeans has recently paid 110 garment workers around $159,000 in back wages, after a DOL investigation found that the Los Angeles, California-based sewing contractor, used by Joe's Jeans, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay the workers minimum wage and overtime.

The DOL investigation reportedly found that Angel's Finishing, the contractor hired to finish Joe's Jeans, disregarded minimum wage and overtime laws requiring that employees are paid for all hours worked during the work week, as well as Saturday and Sunday. The DOL found that workers were instead only paid on a piece-rate basis, with no record of weekend work on the employee time cards. The jeans finished by Angel's were later shipped all over the United States, and sold at high-end department stores like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis stated that while Joe's Jeans was enjoying lucrative profits, the vulnerable low-wage workers were not even paid the federal minimum wage or overtime for their efforts. Solis claimed that the DOL expects employers to take responsibility to ensure that the manufacturers making their products are following the law and compensating workers with their legally entitled right to fair payment.

Joe's Jeans has reportedly fully paid the back wages for a two-year period, and agreed to a plan promoting DOL compliance by all of the contractors that the company uses. The DOL Wage and Hour Division also assessed Angel's Finishing and its owners $41,140 in civil money penalties for falsifying the time records of its workers--a willful violation of federal law.

In Orange County, California, contact Howard Law, PC today.

US Labor Department Recovers Nearly $160,000 in Back Wages for 110 Los Angeles Garment Workers, U.S. Department of Labor Press Release, January 10, 2010

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)