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Garment maker fined by California Labor Commissioner

A Los Angeles apparel company that makes women's garments is being fined by the California Labor Commissioner for failing to pay overtime wages to 110 of its employees. The state's Department of Industrial Relations announced April 11 that the company is required to pay $113,785 in unpaid overtime wages, along with $61,450 in penalties for failing to pay the overtime and additional penalties of $307,250 for improperly itemized statements.

The apparel company in question pays its employees by the piece. Per law, manufacturers are required to provide employees with accurate itemized statements showing how many hours were worked. If manufacturers pay by the piece, they are also obligated to list the number of items made and how much employees were paid per item. The labor commissioner believes that the company was attempting to circumvent labor laws that require companies to pay employees overtime by paying employees by the item and not letting them know how many hours they had worked.

The garment manufacturer reportedly failed to disclose the hours employees worked on their pay stubs, so employees had no idea they were being taken advantage of. The labor commissioner condemned the company's practices, asserting that it was operating under "sweatshop conditions."

Businesses have specific laws that they must follow to ensure that their employees are compensated properly. When employees are not paid fair wages, they may have legal recourse and be owed for back pay or unpaid overtime. Workers who believes their employer has not been paying them appropriate wages may want to speak with an experienced employment law attorney to find out what their options are.

Source: State of California Department of Industrial Relations, "California Labor Commissioner Fines Garment Contractor for Wage Theft," April 11, 2013

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