The legal drama surrounding Alexander Wang escalated recently when a second plaintiff came forward to sue the designer for being forced to work in sweatshop-level conditions. Flor Duante, 48, says she worked 90-hour weeks in Wang's Chinatown factory and that when she applied for worker's comp, she was fired alongside Wenyu Lu, who initiated the $50 million civil action suit last month. The Queens Supreme Court left the suit open, with Lu and 30 other "similarly situated" people listed as plaintiffs.
The suit has nine charges in all, including labor law violations, breach of agreement and unjust enrichment. Plaintiffs are seeking $50 million for each, skyrocketing the total to $450 million to date. Lu's lawyer, Ming Hai, who has worked on a number of comparable employment law cases, tells Women's Wear Daily that most designers or factory owners in Wang's position opt to settle out of court to avoid "bad press."
Meanwhile, in an earlier statement, a spokesperson for Wang denied the allegations. "The company takes its obligations to comply with the law very seriously, including the relevant wage and hour regulations, the payment of overtime to eligible employees and having a safe working environment for all of our employees. We will vehemently defend any allegations to the contrary."