LA Clothing Co. With Virus Cases To Provide Sick Leave Info
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Law360 (August 6, 2020, 10:26 PM EDT) — A Los Angeles clothing manufacturer where health officials found hundreds of employees contracted COVID-19 has agreed to respond to the city’s questions about its staff numbers and sick leave, just a day after the city urged a California state court to force the company to hand over the information.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a short statement to Law360 on Thursday that Los Angeles Apparel will soon respond to a subpoena sent to the company less than a month ago. That statement came just a day after Los Angeles and its mayor, Eric Garcetti, filed a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court to enforce the subpoena.
The subpoena sought information about what kind of sick leave the company offers and how many employees it has, the city had said. The subpoena was an attempt by the city to see if Los Angeles Apparel was complying with the city’s sick leave law, according to Los Angeles, which added that city officials found that over 300 company employees had COVID-19 and four died from it.
“COVID-19 has raged throughout Los Angeles, but has hit low-income workers particularly hard,” Feuer said in his statement. “Our office is determined to ensure L.A. Apparel has adhered to our public health and safety laws. If it has not, it needs to be held accountable.”
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Garcetti signed an order in early April forcing any employer with 500 or more employees to let those workers take off for health reasons or to care for a family member because of COVID-19, according to the city. Full-time workers would get as many as 80 hours off, the city said.
In late June, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health forced Los Angeles Apparel’s factory to close operations because of “flagrant violations of mandatory public health infection control orders,” but the company opened back up and started hiring, according to the petition. On July 9, the department reissued its closure order and told Los Angeles Apparel it needed to put into place certain public health measures, the petition said.
The company was allowed to open back up around July 23 by city public health officials, according to the city.
But the mayor said his office subpoenaed Los Angeles Apparel as a way to see if it was complying with the COVID-19 sick leave order and a separate city minimum wage ordinance that carries certain sick leave benefit requirements.
Los Angeles Apparel said in a statement to Law360 on Thursday that it “will be complying with the city’s subpoena.”
“The company has followed the mayoral order for supplemental paid sick leave and all sick pay rules that apply in the city of Los Angeles,” the company said. “We intend to cooperate fully with any routine and reasonable informational requests from the city attorney or any inquiring agency. We emphasize that at no time has the city accused Los Angeles Apparel of non-compliance.”
Los Angeles is represented by Michael N. Feuer, Kathleen A. Kenealy, Michael J. Bostrom and Christopher S. Munsey of the Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney.
Counsel information for Los Angeles Apparel was not immediately available Thursday.
The case is City of Los Angeles et al. v. Los Angeles Apparel Inc., case number 20STCP02482, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.
–Editing by Bruce Goldman.
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