Fashion Nova is infamous for its skimpy styles, yet a new report claims the laborers that make its clothing are being paid skimpy wages.
The online retailer — purveyor of such things as the “Here For Fun” bodysuit and the “Buckle Up Mock Neck Romper” — is accused of working with Los Angeles factories that pay their employees less than minimum wage, as per an exposé published by The New York Times on Monday.
Referring to internal documents from the U.S. Department of Labor, which directed investigations in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, The Times uncovered that “dozens of factories” making Fashion Nova’s clothing had owed a total of $3.8 million to its laborers in back wages. The report additionally claimed that some of Fashion Nova’s contractors were paying representatives as meager as $2.77 every hour.
“There were cockroaches. There were rats,” Mercedes Cortes, 56, told The Times of working in a Vernon, Calif., factory. “The conditions weren’t good.”
Fashion Nova didn’t work directly with the factories or employees, but instead by buying materials and having them sent to the sewing contractors, some of whom purportedly employed the underpaid laborers.
Fashion Nova has since reacted to The Times’ investigation on Twitter.
“Any suggestion that Fashion Nova is responsible for underpaying anyone working on our brand is categorically false,” the company wrote.
Fashion Nova’s lawyer said the organization is addressing the issue.
“We have already had a highly productive and positive meeting with the Department of Labor in which we discussed our ongoing commitment to ensuring that all workers involved with the Fashion Nova brand are appropriately compensated for the work they do,” Erica Meierhans, Fashion Nova’s general counsel, told the Times.
On Twitter, Fashion Nova further defended its brand and claimed that anybody saw as disregarding California law would be briefly evacuated as a contractor.
“Furthermore, we have written agreements with all of our more than 700 vendors in which they commit to paying their employees and sub-contractors in strict alignment with California law. Any vendor found to not be in compliance is immediately put on a six-month probationary period. A second violation results in a suspension of all agreements with that vendor.”
A delegate for the fast-fashion retailer was not promptly accessible to comment.
This isn’t simply the first time Fashion Nova has found itself in hot water. The organization was recently hit with a lawsuit by Versace, which blamed the retailer for copying the renowned Versace gown work by Jennifer Lopez at the 2000 Grammy Awards.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Fortune Outlook journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.