The Labor Commissioner’s Office recently cited six Los Angeles-based garment contractors $573,704 for multiple labor law violations. The contractors illegally operated under one license to avoid compliance with California labor laws, according to the office. Also, four of the contractors didn’t have valid workers’ compensation coverage for their employees.
“Shared use of a garment manufacturing registration is illegal, and it gave these contractors an unjust economic advantage over law-abiding garment businesses,” Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su said in a statement.
The investigators also discovered that most of the 57 employees in this specific Los Angeles building worked up to 65 hours a week for less than minimum wage and two workers, ages 15 and 16, were operating industrial sewing machines, which is in violation of California’s child labor laws.
“Sweatshop operators attempting to game the system at the expense of their competitors often do so on the backs of their own workers,” Su said.
The Garment Manufacturing Act of 1980 requires that all industry employers register with the Labor Commissioner and demonstrate adequate character, competency, and responsibility, including workers’ compensation insurance coverage, according to the Labor Commissioner’s Office.
Regardless of the type of industry, employers should pay attention to the different types of labor laws that could affect their business to ensure they are compliant. Violations discovered by the Labor Commissioner’s Office may come with heavy penalties and substantial fines.
Make sure that your employees are aware of their rights to workers’ compensation and the current minimum wage. Also be aware that local ordinances could affect how your employees are paid.
Vannessa Maravilla, Editor, CalChamber