FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2012
California Labor Commissioner Partners with U.S. Department of Labor Joint Inspections Conducted in the Heart of L.A. Garment District
Los Angeles—California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su today released the results of the unannounced joint-agency enforcement action conducted yesterday, between the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and the U. S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division, of garment manufacturing businesses in Los Angeles. The inspections resulted in citations totaling $217,844 being issued for failure to carry workers’ compensation and failure to obtain a garment license. Audits will determine what wages are owed for minimum wage and overtime violations.
DLSE, a division within the California Department of Industrial Relations, conducted inspections at ten garment shops in the heart of the Los Angeles garment district that were identified by DOL as targets. Between the two agencies, 50 investigators, divided into ten teams, conducted simultaneous inspections in the garment district to target employers who violate laws designed to protect low wage workers who are commonly employed in this industry.
“Enforcement partnerships provide an added leverage in identifying and bringing into compliance employers who break laws designed to protect vulnerable workers,” said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations. “Our efforts are designed to protect workers and eliminate the unfair competitive advantage that law breakers have over compliant businesses.”
The enforcement turned up violations of workers’ compensation and garment license requirements under state law. In addition, comprehensive audits are being conducted by DOL to identify possible minimum wage and overtime violations. DLSE will issue citations, where appropriate, based upon the findings of the audits, which will be completed within two weeks.
“These joint investigations were conducted almost exactly 17 years to the day after garment workers were found working behind barbed wire and under armed guard in an El Monte sweatshop,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. “Rooting out continued violations of basic wage protections for garment workers is a top priority for this administration. The honest employers in the industry depend on this effective enforcement, and garment workers deserve nothing less.”
The ten garment companies visited employed a total of 199 workers. On the day of the inspections, citations were issued in the amount of $217,844 for failure to carry workers’ compensation and failure to obtain a garment license. Audits being conducted will determine what wages are owed for minimum wage and overtime violations.
“My office is focused on ensuring that all wages are paid for all hours worked, especially for minimum wage workers,” continued Labor Commissioner Su. “I am especially proud of and grateful for our partnership with Secretary Hilda Solis and the U.S. Department of Labor. This is just one of many joint efforts between our agencies.”
The California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Labor Standards Enforcement adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complaints, and enforces state labor laws. DIR has additional information on requirements for garment registration, overtime, other labor laws and work related topics on our website.
Employees with work-related questions or complaints can also call the California Workers’ Information Line at 1-866-924-9757 for recorded information on a variety of work related topics.
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