The first ever order of confiscation was issued against a New York City sweatshop. As a result of the confiscation order, garments produced by the company may not be moved or sold until the company makes full restitution to its workers. It is not clear if there were any workers’ compensation violations or workplace injuries as a result of the companies’ business practices and harassment of their workers.
The order was issued against the manufacturer of the garments, Forest Uniform Corporation and a contractor, Technical Garment USA Co., Inc. These companies have worked together to produce New York Police Department dress uniforms since 2007. As a result of the citation, the New York Police Department has removed the manufacturer from their list of authorized vendors of dress uniforms.
At these companies workers were often forced to work up to 80 hours a week while only being paid for 40 hours. Managers were found keeping two separate sets of timecards for employees; the timecards shown to investigators listed all employees as working 40 to 45 hours. The second set of timecards – or in one case a notebook – showed some workers toiling for 7 days a week up to 80 hours a week without the required time-and-a-half compensation for overtime.
Employees were coached on how to respond to official investigators with false statements and were threatened with dismissal if they did not comply. It is estimated that Technical Garment USA Co., Inc. owes nearly half a million dollars in wages and damages to 16 of their workers.