Calif. Division of Labor Standards Enforcement Recovers $725,000 in Back Wages for L.A. Garment Workers

August 3, 2004

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 reportedly 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 notified workers to appear personally in the auditorium at the State of California Building last week 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 had to 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, when they registered 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 reportedly 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.

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