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."
California Labor Commissioner
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