Leggings company owner says $84,000 in fines stem from a misunderstanding; whistleblower says otherwise
SPANISH FORK, Utah — A Spanish Fork retail company had to pay more than $84,000 in penalties after violating child labor laws and terminating the employee who called the department of labor.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Legg-A-Licious had to pay back wages, liquidated damages and penalties for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act at the Spanish Fork warehouse.
Michaele Garcia is the whistleblower that contacted the Department of Labor.
“I witnessed a lot of things that made me uncomfortable,” Garcia said.
She’s a former Legg-A-Licious employee who contacted the department when she realized her boss was employing underage children.
“I created an emergency contact form and that’s how I realized we had 13-year-olds on staff,” Garcia said.
She says she was fired soon after.
“She said I understand you’ve been talking to my sales girls about going to the labor board about the kids and your overtime. She said I know I’m legal. I have a lawyer. You’re fired. Leave your key at the door and get out of the warehouse,” Garcia said.
Owner Karen Fager said she didn’t realize she was breaking the law when she hired 13-year-olds. The law says they have to be at least 14.
“Ignorance is expensive. They were paid $8 an hour. That’s above minimum wage. They didn’t work more than three hours a day. They didn’t work more than 12 hours a week,” Fager said.
However, she denied Garcia was fired because she contacted the labor board.
“She had been terminated before she called the labor department and she was terminated for performance issues,” Fager said.
Garcia says she was working 70-to-80 hours a week but didn’t receive overtime pay.
“She did clock hours in excess of 40 hours but as a 1099 employee you’re paid straight time because you choose when you work, how you work, how many hours you work,” Fager said.
However, the labor board sided with Garcia and forced Legg-A-Licious to pay her more than $33,000 in back pay and penalties.
“I just want people to understand it wasn’t about the money. It wasn’t about anything but doing what was right,” Garcia said.
“It’s grown so fast that were bound to make mistakes because we’re constantly coming from a position of oh my gosh this is bigger than we are,” Fager said.
While Fager claims she made a mistake hiring the 13-year-olds, she said she only paid the $33,000 penalty because it was cheaper than hiring a lawyer and fighting it out in court.
She also says all the 13-year-olds who were working there, came back to work once they turned 14.
SPANISH FORK, Utah – Southbound Interstate 15 has been reopened near the Spanish Fork Main Street exit following a crash that closed the interstate, according to the Utah Department of Transportation.
UDOT reported the closure just after 7:30 p.m. and Sgt. Nick Street with Utah Highway Patrol said the crash involved multiple vehicles but has since been cleaned up.
In tonight’s Wanted with Scott McKane:
1. Truck illegally dumping in Spanish Fork
If you can identify this individual or vehicle . . . please contact Detective Hooley at 801.804.4776. For information on disposing of yard waste, go to spanishfork.org – Green Waste Vouchers or Applications & Forms – Burn Permits.
2. Tooele County trailer theft
The Trailer in this video was stolen out of Stansbury. If anyone can identify the male subject please contact the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at 435-882-5600 and ask to speak to a Deputy.
3. Brigham City car theft
Brigham City Police would like everyone’s assistance in identifying this car. They were involved in the theft of catalytic converters from an auto repair business.
If you have any information that would help in this case, please contact Detective Supino at 435-734-6684.
4. Shoplifting in Logan
On April 17, 2019, Logan Police were dispatched to investigate an alleged shoplifting case. Ulta Beauty appears to have fallen victim to yet another shoplifter. The three people in the photos walked in and removed over $700.00 worth of merchandise and left the store without paying. We are trying to identify these individuals to speak with them about their failure to comply with the standard of purchasing items before leaving the store. We want to thank ULTA BEAUTY for having a camera system. These photos help us solicit the public’s help in identifying those who choose to steal.
If you know ANY of these folks, PLEASE call Detective Fowler at 435-716-9486. You don’t need to leave your name, just a message of who you think they are.