The U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday that a judge ordered downtown L.A. retailer Forever 21 Inc. to release supply chain information that the apparel company refused to disclose after the federal agency demanded it last summer.

U.S. District Court Judge Margaret Morrow found that a subpoena the labor department issued to Forever 21 in August 2012, was part of a lawful investigation. The court’s order, signed and entered on March 7, required Forever 21 to produce the requested documents within 10 days.

The labor department initially issued the subpoena after investigators did a sweep of downtown L.A. garment sewing factories and discovered minimum wage and overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In at least one of the offending shops, investigators found clothing made there that was meant to be shipped to Forever 21 stores.

In the last five years, the department has done more than 1,500 investigations into the labor practices of employers in the garment industry in Southern California. The department discovered violations in 93 percent of those cases.

M. Patricia Smith of the Labor Department said the government is committed to enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“The order underscores that everyone in the supply chain has a responsibility to ensure that workers receive the federal minimum wage and earned overtime,” she said in a statement.

Forever 21 could not be immediately reached for comment.

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