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Forever 21 Responds to Labor Dept.

The retailer said Friday that it has cooperated by providing information on its labor practices.

REBUTTAL: Forever 21 said Friday that it has cooperated with the U.S. Department of Labor by providing information on its labor practices. The department, which disputes that Forever 21 has been transparent about labor matters, filed a legal action in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to enforce a subpoena issued on Aug. 16 to obtain such information about the manufacturers and apparel contractors making Forever 21’s merchandise.

Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator for the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division in the West, has described the Los Angeles-based retailer as working with “dozens of manufacturers producing goods…under sweatshoplike conditions.”

A spokeswoman for Forever 21 responded that the company “shares the Department of Labor’s commitment to proper wage payment under the Fair Labor Standards Act. To that end, Forever 21 promptly responded to the department’s subpoena with information that resulted in a full resolution of the matter under investigation. Forever 21 also offered to meet with the department and is surprised and disappointed that the department declined to meet before filing this action but looks forward to working with them to address any issues.”

Unless the two parties can come to an agreement, the next step in the legal tussle is a court hearing. The date for that hearing has not been set.