Jul 12, 2020
In response to “flagrant violations” of public health and safety orders, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced Friday that it was forcing the garment factory run by Los Angeles Apparel to shut down effective immediately.
In a public statement the Department of Public Health confirmed three Los Angeles Apparel factory workers died in June, while another worker died in July. The deaths, all reportedly related to a coronavirus outbreak, sparked an immediate investigation.
“The death of four dedicated garment workers is heartbreaking and tragic,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “Business owners and operators have a corporate, moral and social responsibility to their employees and their families to provide a safe work environment.”
The factory, located in downtown Los Angeles, was initially shut down on June 27 after the three employee deaths. According to the county, Los Angeles Apparel then violated the shutdown order and reopened “with apparently new employees.” Upon the unlawful reopening, the fourth factory worker died, and more than 300 workers have since tested positive for the disease. The county also reports that the company attempted to block health inspectors from entering the factory. That act of defiance is what incited the latest shut down order, which mandates the factory remain closed until it can demonstrate “full compliance” with public health mandates.
Marissa Nuncio, director of the Garment Worker Center, stated it was “heartbreaking to hear of worker deaths at Los Angeles Apparel,” adding that she hopes the tragedy “raises awareness of the urgent need to protect workers.”
According to a report from Business Insider, “Los Angeles’ garment industry is notorious for labor violations.” In March, Director Nuncio stated that when factories began shifting from clothing to the manufacture of personal protective equipment such as masks, “Workers — largely undocumented women of color — often reported sub-legal wages, paid not by the hour but by the object they sewed, in poorly ventilated sweatshops.”
Hundreds of workers’ compensation and a select number of wrongful death lawsuits against Los Angeles Apparel will likely be filed in the coming days, with the coronavirus outbreak infecting so many employees.
Under Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order in May, all California workers infected by COVID-19 are protected by workers’ compensation insurance. As a result of said order, infected workers are eligible for a financial award related to lost wages, medical care, a disability, death benefits, and more. The executive order makes it easier for workers who become infected with COVID-19 to file a claim for those workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, the executive order extends to all workers, regardless of immigration status. Undocumented as well as documented workers who contract the coronavirus on the job are eligible for the same workers’ compensation benefits.
At Dordulian Law Group, our Workers’ Compensation Division is led by Charles Rondeau, a certified specialist with the State Bar of California who has over 25 years of experience fighting for the rights of workers. Additionally, Mr. Rondeau is the former Chairperson of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Law Commission of the State Bar of California, and is a proud member of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (“CAAA”), the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (“CAALA”), the Consumer Attorneys of California (“CAOC”), and the California Employment Lawyers Association (“CELA”).
If you are a worker and have been infected by COVID-19, do not wait to file a claim for the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation or call 800-880-7777.
With our decades of experience and 98% success rate at trials, Dordulian Law Group is the best choice for handling your workers’ compensation case. With DLG, you can be confident knowing you have the top-rated workers’ compensation lawyers in Los Angeles fighting for you every step of the way.
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