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Alexander Wang Refutes Sweatshop Allegations

Brand denies the claims, says plaintiff was fired for harassing coworkers.

NEW YORK — Alexander Wang is pushing back against a former employee’s sweatshop allegations.

This story first appeared in the March 27, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The fashion house told WWD that Wenyu Lu, who sued the company for poor working conditions at its factory on 386 Broadway here, was fired for bullying his co-workers.

“The claims regarding sweatshop conditions are completely untrue,” said an Alexander Wang spokesman. “In reality, this case was filed by an individual who was let go by the company as a result of serious harassment issues. We stand by our decision to promote a safe workplace environment for all employees regardless of false claims that may be waged against us in retaliation.”

Plaintiffs’ attorney C.K. Lee of the law firm Kraselnik & Lee declined to comment Monday. Lu claims he was fired after applying for worker’s compensation for injuries sustained on the job.

The lawsuit, which was transferred to New York Federal Court on Friday from Queens County Supreme Court, alleged that Wang violated the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as New York State labor laws covering overtime compensation and minimum wage.

The suit also includes Flo Durante, another Wang employee, who was let go after complaining of poor working conditions and long hours.

Like the suit filed in state court, Friday’s complaint alleges that employees were made to work more than 15 hours a day without breaks.

As is the common practice, the federal suit does not specify a dollar figure for damages. The initial complaint demanded a judgment of $450 million.

In addition, the plaintiffs asked Federal Judge Harold Baer to give the suit class-action status.

Lawyers for Alexander Wang will have 20 days to reply to the complaint.