DOL: Beyond Yoga contractors to pay over $1M in wages, damages to garment workers

Dive Brief:

  • The U.S. Department of Labor announced last week that Beyond Yoga contractors would pay $1.1 million in back wages and damages for claims involving 165 Los Angeles-based garment workers. The resolution comes after an investigation concluded the contractors illegally denied workers overtime wages before attempting to conceal the wage theft.
  • The investigation, which culminated in a settlement the Labor Department said is the largest to date for California garment workers, revealed four contractors of the apparel brand “willfully failed to pay” overtime wages to employees when their work time exceeded 40 hours, even though they worked an average of 52 hours per week.
  • The division also found that the sewing contractors — Good Cash LLC, Good Cash Inc., Premium Quality Apparel LLC, and Premium Quality Apparel Inc. — falsified payroll records and issued fake checks to conceal their illegal pay practices.

Dive Insight:

The Labor Department said Beyond Yoga agreed to make good on its contractors’ legal obligations, once informed of their violations, and would pay $582,317 in back wages and an equal amount in damages.

Additionally, the Office of the Solicitor secured a consent judgment against Good Cash and Premium Apparel entities, imposing a $200,000 civil money penalty for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“Garment workers are often subject to stringent production requirements and receive some of the lowest wages in the country,” Jessica Looman, administrator of the DOL’s Wage and Hour division, said in the release. “This case demonstrates that the Wage and Hour Division will hold to account employers across the supply chain to ensure that workers receive the pay they have earned and the rights they are afforded by the law.” 

The athleisure company said it would enter into an enhanced compliance agreement with the Wage and Hour Division to improve compliance across its product supply chain. The agreement would require Beyond Yoga to update its code of conduct for garment contractors, establish a monitoring program and direct all contractors to showcase information that guides workers on how to file complaints of potential labor violations confidentially.

DOL said owners of the four contractors — Ramon Tecum, Marisela Romero (also known as Diana Tecum) and Joseph Delao — attempted to interfere with the court-authorized inspection warrant by disguising themselves as workers, shutting off the power to the facility and ordering employees to leave the worksite. Investigators involved in the case also found former California Deputy Labor Commissioner Conrado Gomez had played a significant role in the businesses, according to the DOL.

Though Beyond Yoga is primarily based in California, the company opened a new store in Chicago in November — its first outside the Golden State — citing an interest in widening its customer reach. The yoga apparel brand, which was acquired by denim manufacturer Levi Struass in 2021, has over 1,600 retail partners in addition to its branded stores, including Shopbop, Revolve, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, REI and Scheels.