While Gov. Cuomo has brought about significant changes in New York following the New York Times “Unvarnished” series on nail salon worker exploitation, including a push for new legislation, an inspection task force, and a public education campaign requiring salons to post a “manicurist’s bill of rights,” nail salons elsewhere are continuing business as usual.

After receiving complaints from workers who had read the Times exposé, the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Wage and Workplace Standards Division conducted a series of random inspections at 25 salons. All but two were found to be violating wage laws, and were subsequently shut down.

According to NBC Connecticut:

At the nail salons shut down for violations, investigators learned many employees were paid with cash with no payroll records to trace it, they were paid below the minimum wage of $9.15 an hour and they weren’t being paid for overtime ... The inspectors also took issue with the salons’ worker’s compensation coverage, reporting that they didn’t have proper coverage.

In total, the department ordered salons to pay at least $62,000 in back wages to over 50 workers. They will also have to pay a total of $130,000 in civil penalties for underreporting payroll, violating wage laws, and failing to obtain proper workers’ compensation coverage.

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At the nail salons shut down for violations, investigators learned that many employees were paid with cash with no payroll records, they were paid below the minimum wage of $9.15 an hour, and they weren’t being paid for overtime. According to Gary Pechie, director of wage and workplace standards at the department, women at one salon were being paid $40 for a 10-hour work day.

Pechie has organized a seminar on proper business practices for August 26th in Hamden, CT; approximately 150 salon owners have committed to attending.


Contact the author at ellie@jezebel.com.

Image via Associated Press.

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