American Apparel to Pay $1M Affer Worker 'Mangled and Killed'

Image: An American Apparel store
An American Apparel store in New York, New York.JUSTIN LANE / EPA file

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Clothing manufacturer and retailer American Apparel has agreed to pay out more than $1 million after a factory employee was killed by an industrial knitting machine at a company facility in southern California, prosecutors said.

The employee, Tuan Phan, was killed Aug. 19, 2011, after American Apparel allegedly failed to unplug the knitting machine from the main power supply during maintenance and then failed to lock it or "tag it," which would have notified workers at the company's Garden Grove facility that it was not safe for use. "As a result, when employee Tuan Phan entered the knitting machine cage, the machine re-started and Phan was subsequently mangled and killed by the machine," prosecutors said in a release Tuesday.

The cash payout announced Tuesday settles a civil suit brought by the Orange County District Attorney's Office at the request of California workplace authorities. The settlement includes $150,000 for Phan's daughter, $282,000 to the state for investigative costs and $566,000 in civil penalties, according to prosecutors. In a statement to NBC News, American Apparel said it “does not believe it violated any laws regarding worker safety.”

“American Apparel has been and continues to be absolutely committed to providing its employees with a safe work place and fair wages in a sweat-shop free environment,” the company said.



— Daniel Arkin