Official merchandise for top artists including Lady Gaga, the Rolling Stones, Britney Spears, and Ariana Grande may have been made by workers at a San Diego silk-screening contractor who failed to pay workers their due wages. According to a news release issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, an investigation by its Wage and Hour Division has concluded that King Graphics in San Diego, a contractor for a number of entertainment merchandise manufacturers, shortchanged workers by failing to pay overtime wages.
Overtime Wage Violations
Companies must pay overtime at time and one-half the required rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Failure to do so is a violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA. Following the investigation, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California entered a consent judgment last month under which King Graphics agreed to pay $134,957 in overtime pay and an equal amount in liquidated damages – a total of $269,914 to the affected 76 workers. King Graphics will make this payment through a related class-action lawsuit brought by the employees.
Officials reminded that while celebrities, retailers, and manufacturers profit from t-shirts sold for $40 or more, low-wage workers who produce the merchandise work overtime to meet consumer demand and become victims of wage theft. Officials also emphasized that the Wage and Hour Division will enforce wage and hour laws regardless of a workers’ immigration status and can speak confidentially with callers in more than 200 languages.
Protecting Your Rights
Both federal and California laws require nonexempt employees to be paid overtime wages when they work more than 40 non-overtime hours in a workweek. California law goes even further than federal overtime protections. California law requires that overtime wages must be paid when an employee works more than 8 hours in a workday, more than 40 hours in a workweek or a seventh consecutive day in any workweek.
The usual overtime rate of pay is one and one-half the employee’s regular rate of pay. However, the employee is entitled to double time when he or she works in excess of 12 hours in a workday or in excess of eight hours on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek.
If you believe that your employer is not paying you due wages or if you did not receive payment in a timely manner after you quit your job or were terminated, you may be able to file a California employment lawsuit seeking compensation for back wages and other losses. It would be in your best interest to keep a good record of your hours worked and what you weren’t paid, and contact an experienced employment lawyer who will fight to protect your rights and best interests.