Garment factories are engaged in rampant wage theft according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and it is aggressively investigating and pursuing claims for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

In December 2017, the DOL announced that it had assessed $1.6 million in back wages and liquidated damages against garment facilities throughout Southern California during that year.


According to the DOL, it found FLSA violations in 94 percent of 129 Wage and Hour Division investigations of the region’s garment factories. As a result of the investigations, the DOL found that wages were owed to 1,377 employees.

In many cases, the DOL discovered that employees were being paid far below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, in some cases receiving as little as $4.27 per hour. Investigators also found employers often failed to pay employees overtime at time-and-a-half of their regular rates of pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a week, as required by the FLSA.

Commenting about the investigations and violations, Ruben Rosalez of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division stated that “[i]n addition to our outreach efforts in this industry, we continue our investigations in Southern California to ensure local garment employees receive their rightfully earned pay. Unfortunately, we continue to find wage violations in nine out of every ten facilities we investigate.”