NEW YORK — A federal district court judge in Brooklyn last month ruled that factory workers can continue their lawsuit against a sportswear maker to recover minimum wages and overtime.

The lawsuit by Fen X. Chen and others was filed in February 2001 against Street Beat Sportswear Inc., two garment factories and several individuals of Street Beat. The defendants had requested a dismissal of some of the claims. On Jan. 22, Judge I. Leo Glasser ruled against the defendants and, in his order, wrote that because the factory workers are third-party beneficiaries of an agreement between Street Beat and the U.S. Department of Labor, they can recover minimum wages and overtime pay that the factories failed to pay to them.

In the order, the judge wrote that the terms of the DOL agreement required that the manufacturer insure that the factories it hired meet minimum standards, including employee pay policies.

Most of the plaintiffs, who worked for the defendants from 1996 until 2000, worked long hours seven days a week with only one or two days off a year, , Glasser wrote. He noted that they were paid either by the piece or by the hour, and were never paid overtime wages for the hours worked past 40 hours a week.

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