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Labor Department Gets Restraining Order on LA Garment Maker Over Labor Violations

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles has issued a temporary restraining order to stop an L.A. garment manufacturer from shipping clothes to retailer Charlotte Russe over labor violations at the factory.

Following a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) investigation into RK Apparel Inc., the DOL found overtime and minimum wage violations that prompted the department to invoke a “hot goods” legal action.

“Whenever goods are produced in violation of the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime or child labor provisions, the U.S. Department of Labor can restrain those goods from being shipped in interstate commerce. This action is commonly referred to as invoking the ‘hot goods’ provision,” Janet Herold, the DOL’s regional solicitor in Los Angeles, explained.

Division investigators found that RK Apparel’s contractor, HDK Ave. Inc., paid its employees well below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, with some receiving pay as low as $4 per hour. The employer required employees to work up to 58 hours a week, but paid them only a piece rate–a flat amount per garment produced–and did not pay overtime for more than 40 hours worked in a week, as required by federal law.

RK Apparel was notified of “widespread violations” of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that rendered the garments made and assembled by those workers as “hot goods” unfit for shipment or sale through interstate commerce. The company advised the DOL that it would not ship the hot goods, but then proceeded to deliver a batch to Charlotte Russe.

“Today’s action demonstrates that we will use all of the tools provided by law to ensure that employees receive the pay they have legally earned and that law-abiding employers are not undercut by unfair competition,” Herold said.