On July 17, 1991, four hundred fifty garment workers employed by Raymond and Yee Nor Kong found the doors to their workplace padlocked. These workers had no prior notice that the nine shops owned by the Kongs were about to go out of business. For the workers, the closure of the shops meant more than the suspension of future income. The Kongs had not paid them for two months, claiming that money was tight and that compensation would follow when cash became available. The Kongs had borrowed substantial sums from their employees, threatening to terminate workers who would not lend them money. Furthermore, the Kongs had ceased paying health insurance premiums, despite having deducted money from employees' paychecks for this purpose. Employees and their families were left without health coverage although they had paid for insurance. The California Labor Commissioner's Office described this case as one of the worst single violations of wage and hour laws it had ever confronted.
Preventing Human Rights Abuses in the U.S. Garment Industry: A Proposed Amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act,
Yale J. Int'l L.
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