News reports that the Department of Labor has begun an investigation into the working conditions at the popular clothing store Forever 21. The United States DOL Wage and Hour division announced that they have filed an action requiring Forever 21 to cooperate with the government’s investigation into the labor practices of the company. The clothing store has been under investigation for the last four years as the result of alleged labor violations.
According to federal law under the Fair Labor Standards Act, workers must be paid minimum wage and those non-exempt workers who put in more than 40 hours in an one work week are entitled to pay at one and one-half times their hourly rate of pay. Documents in this matter accuse Forever 21 manufacturers of operating in “sweatshop-like conditions” and failing to provide documentation regarding workers’ hours, wages and work conditions. According to reports, the Department of Labor has evidence of significant FLSA violations concerning minimum wage, overtime and record keeping requirements.
If you have questions about your place of employment and whether you have received the wages and hours you deserve, it may be a good idea to speak to a knowledgeable Atlanta wage and hour lawyer. A skilled FLSA attorney can review your working situation and provide crucial guidance. Many times, if your employer has violated one worker’s rights, other workers have been affected as well.
The investigation into Forever 21 is part of a greater initiative looking into practices in the garment industry. This initiative has revealed that American clothing manufacturers have deprived workers of some $11 million through violations of the FLSA, a federal law established to protect against these abuses.
News that Forever 21 has been “disheartening” to many young shoppers who flock to the store but have been alerted to their possible unethical labor practices.
Further, if you are a workers who may be experiencing poor working conditions and believe that you have been denied overtime or that their employer has committed some other violation of the wage and hour laws, you don’t have to file an EEOC claim or wait for the Department of Labor to begin an investigation. Instead, you can hire a private attorney and file suit as soon as you discover the violation. If other people at your company have also been denied overtime, you may be able to file a special type of FLSA class action, known as a collective action, which will help you bring the maximum pressure to bear on your employer to change its ways and to pay you all the compensation you are owed.
Also unlike the discrimination laws, the FLSA has a much longer statute of limitations-you have two years to file suit for most violations and three years if your employer’s violation of the law is willful. You damages can include all back wages (which includes any unpaid overtime), plus an amount equal to your unpaid back wages, interest, attorneys’ fees, and court costs.
For more information please contact the top Georgia wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.