Byline: Kristi Ellis

LOS ANGELES — BCBG Max Azria, City Girl Inc. and Hobby Horse Inc. have agreed to pay a contractor’s employee over $30,000 to settle a labor suit filed against the three last year.
The Asian Pacific American Legal Center filed a lawsuit last November on behalf of Hsiu-Chu Chen, an employee of Walnut, Calif.-based Angelique & Co., charging the contractor and three manufacturers with violating the FLSA and California Labor Code, unfair business practices and intentional and emotional distress.
Chen claimed in the suit that she was routinely paid less than minimum wage and not paid overtime, worked 9 1/2 hours a day, often six days a week, and worked on Sundays as well.
Julie Su, an attorney with the center, said that the actual wages owed were about $4,000. Approximately $20,000 of the settlement included her back wages, statutory penalties and other damages, Su said. Another $10,000 was allocated for the center’s legal costs.
“It’s a double victory for us,” said Su, noting that both the center and worker were compensated.
Ron Perilman, president and chief executive officer of City Girl, claimed that the move was “an economic settlement based on no wrongdoing.”
“This is just another example of them [the legal center] using their ability to force an economic settlement because they know it is too costly to prove them wrong,” Perilman said.
Perilman noted that he has monitored his shops for the past six to seven years, adding that he shouldn’t be held liable for a contracting shop’s violations.
“Nobody wants to see people cheated and not paid minimum wage,” Perilman said, claiming that Chen was paid fairly and legally.
BCBG Max Azria employs its own contractor-compliance department. “In this case, BCBG monitors found no evidence that the contractor failed to comply with the laws. BCBG joined in settling this matter reluctantly, as we are confident that such litigation would show BCBG to be reputable, law-abiding and a proponent of fair treatment of workers,” a company spokesman said in a statement.