FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2004-4
Tuesday , July 27, 2004

CONTACT:
Dean Fryer
Susan Gard
415-703-5050


State Division of Labor Standards Enforcement recovers $725,000 in back wages for Los Angeles garment workers

Workers owed wages should register July 28

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), has recovered $724,600 in back wages owed to 472 garment workers who had not been paid by their employer, MiAngels Apparel, Inc., for several weeks.

"This marks the beginning of many future collaborative efforts between California and the U.S. Department of Labor to increase labor law enforcement throughout the state," said Jose Millan, deputy secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

The DLSE and U.S. DOL are notifying workers to appear personally in the auditorium at the State of California Building, 320 W. 4th St., Los Angeles, on Wednesday, July 28, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. to verify their identity and work hours, and fill out necessary paperwork. Employees will receive paychecks Friday, Aug. 6, at the same location.

Employees owed wages for hours worked between June 5, 2004 and July 16, 2004 were notified by mail and must bring photo identification and a social security card or check stub from MiAngels Apparel, Inc., or the special notice issued showing the amount they are owed, with them when they register for payment.

"These garment workers will receive the pay they earned," said Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Acting Director John Rea. "It's deeply gratifying when a collaborative effort like this corrects an injustice."

While responding to complaints about company practices, DLSE investigators learned employees of MiAngels, a Los Angeles garment manufacturer producing athletic wear and other clothing, had not received complete pay checks since May, and many employees were owed overtime wages.

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.

A toll-free assistance line (1-877-552-9832) for Spanish-speaking workers was launched in the Los Angeles area July 1 in cooperation with the U.S. DOL, the Mexican Consulate and five Central American consulates. The toll-free line was instrumental in receiving information used by state and federal investigators.

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.

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