FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2004-6
Wednesday , August , 2004

CONTACT:
Dean Fryer
Susan Gard
415-703-5050


State Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to distribute nearly $725,000 in back wages to Los Angeles garment workers

 

San Francisco - The California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), in cooperation with the U. S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL), will distribute $724,600 in back wages owed to 472 garment workers who had not been paid by their employer, MiAngels Apparel, Inc. of Los Angeles, for several weeks.

"I am very pleased by the outcome of this joint investigation and the speed at which our agencies were able to respond to the difficulties these employees were facing," said Victoria Bradshaw, secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. "This investigation epitomizes the agency's renewed commitment to joint labor law enforcement in all low wage industries as well as our desire to make the most of our resources by working cooperatively with the U.S. Department of Labor," she said.

Workers will pick up checks in person in the auditorium of the state building, 320 W. 4th St., Los Angeles, on Friday, Aug. 6, between noon and 8:00 p.m.

The distribution of back wages results from an investigation by the DLSE and U.S. DOL, which found employees of MiAngels Apparel Inc., a Los Angeles garment manufacturer producing athletic wear and other clothing, had not received complete pay checks for hours worked between June 5, 2004 and July 16, 2004, and had not received overtime pay. Last week, the state and federal labor agencies notified workers to appear in person to verify their identity and work hours.

"The short period of time in which we were able to recover and distribute these workers' back wages is unprecedented," said Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Acting Director John Rea. "For many workers in this industry, the loss of even one week's wages could mean the difference between self-sufficiency and public assistance."

In California, regulations governing wages, hours and working conditions are laid out in the Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders, which must be posted in the workplace where employees can read them. Wages (with few exceptions) must be paid at least twice during each calendar month on the days designated in advance as regular paydays. Employers must establish regular paydays and post a notice showing the day, time and location of payment.

Overtime wages must be paid at the rate of one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay for all hours over eight per day (up to and including 12 hours), and for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day in a workweek.

Employers in need of Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders or other workplace postings may order them on line at www.dir.ca.gov, click on workplace postings in the left navigation bar.

The DLSE and DOL partner with the Mexican Consulate and five Central American consulates in the new EMPLEO (Employment Education Outreach) alliance to educate workers and employers on workplace rights and responsibilities. The EMPLEO toll-free help line (1-877-552-9832), which was established by the alliance, was instrumental in receiving information that assisted the investigation. The alliance includes several federal and state agencies, and local business and community organizations, as well as the Consulates of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and the Diocese of San Bernardino


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