FOREVER 21 IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The U.S. Department of Labor is finding Forever 21 uncooperative. The Department’s Wage and Hour Division said Thursday that the Los Angeles-based retailer has not provided documents it sought concerning the labor practices of Forever 21’s apparel contractors and manufacturers when issuing a subpoena on Aug. 16. As a result, the Department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor in Los Angeles has filed legal action in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to enforce the subpoena.

“Since 2008, our investigators have identified dozens of manufacturers producing goods for Forever 21 under sweatshoplike conditions,” said Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator for the Labor Department’s division in the West. “When companies like Forever 21 refuse to comply with subpoenas, they demonstrate a clear disregard for the law, and the Labor Department will use all enforcement tools available to recover workers’ wages and hold employers accountable.”

This story first appeared in the October 26, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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A Labor Department spokesman said the next step is a court hearing, although the date of the hearing has not been set. The Wage and Hour Division has been examining Forever 21’s apparel contractors and manufacturers’ compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions. Inquiries were made to a representative of Forever 21 seeking comment about the Labor Department’s action, but no response was received by press time.

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