The U.S. Department of Labor uncovered examples of illegal pay practices toward garment workers in Southern California.
According to data from 50 sewing garment contractors, 80% of investigations found Fair Labor Standards Act violations.
The survey revealed that 64% of contractors either falsified time and pay records or did not keep any records.
One contractor paid garment workers an hourly wage of $1.58.
However, data showed some manufacturers did not provide contractors with sufficient sewing fees to pay workers properly.
Studies showed the average sewing fee fell $2.75 below the per garment amount required for contractors to meet federal wage standards.
Contractors complying with wage laws reportedly received a sewing fee of $17.50 to $35 per garment.
Investigations recovered over $892,000 in back wages and liquidated damages for 296 workers.
The surveyed contractors and manufacturers make garments for national retailers, including Dillard’s, Lulus, Nordstrom and Von Maur.