An Orange County, California, clothing manufacturer began failing to pay its garment shop workers in early spring of this year, while continuing to accept the benefits of their full-time employment. The Department of Labor began an investigation, and a U.S. District Court judge recently found in favor of the department in a ruling that restores nearly $900,000 to 115 workers.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis addressed the unpaid wage claim by stating that, "Low-wage workers, such as those employed at garment shops throughout Southern California, are particularly vulnerable." Solis noted that the government "will not hesitate to hold employers accountable for paying their employees the wages they have earned."
The manufacturer, Laundry Room Clothing, went out of business several months ago, when it was foreclosed on for failure to repay a loan.
The default judgment against the company's owners amounted to $308,824 in unpaid wages and overtime compensation for the time employees worked beyond 40 hours a week. The court also awarded the workers liquidated, or punitive, damages in an amount over $500,000.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act provides that employees who are covered under its provisions - such as the workers for Laundry Room Clothing - are required to be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, plus overtime as applicable. The minimum hourly wage in California is $8.00 per hour.
Related Resource: www.apparelnews.net "Orange County Garment Factory Penalized for Unpaid Wages" December 15, 2010