Commerce-based XOXO Clothing Co. has agreed to pay $17,433 in back wages owed to 23 garment workers by a defunct contractor. A Labor Department investigation found that Martinez & Sons Sportswear, a Los Angeles contractor that sewed apparel for the popular young women's clothing label, failed to pay wages for work performed from July through September. Under federal law, garment manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their contractors' employees are properly paid. XOXO also agreed not to ship or sell goods produced in violation of wage and hour laws. In addition to the Labor Department proceedings, 12 other garment workers sued XOXO in November claiming Martinez & Sons stiffed them for more than two months' wages. XOXO agreed to pay them $62,000 in back wages. Since 1997, XOXO has been cited nine times for labor law violations committed by its contractors, according to the Labor Department. Last summer, the manufacturer paid $75,786 to settle charges that the company misclassified its own workers to avoid paying overtime.