U.S. DOL launches probe of Southland garment industry

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in Human Resources,Overtime Labor Laws

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has begun a multiyear enforcement initiative that could result in sanctions against Los Angeles and Orange County employers in the garment industry.

According to the WHD, the garment industry consistently violates federal wage-and-hour laws, skirting minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements.

In the past, WHD investigators have found that garment workers typically are paid for each piece they sew or cut, resulting in pay as low as $6 per hour for many workers. That’s far below both the federal and state minimum wage. Investigators also believe garment industry employees often work more than eight hours per day and more than five days per week without receiving overtime pay.

Officials from California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement will join WHD investigators in reviewing payroll records and employment practices and conducting employee interviews.

Federal officials have also instituted an outreach effort to inform workers of their wage-and-hour rights. The WHD says it plans to contact community organizations, faith-based groups and local and state agencies to promote awareness of workers’ wage-and-hour rights.

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