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Nail Salon Crackdown Expands to CT; 23 of 25 Randomly Selected Shops Closed for Violations


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A Department of Labor Wage and Workplace Standards Division investigation into 25 nail salons in Connecticut resulted in 23 closures due to wage violations.  State Labor Commissioner Sharon M. Palmer reported that the state recovered more than $62,000 owed to employees, mostly for minimum wage violations.  Palmer indicated that the state will look to recover further back wages for other violations.

The 23 salons paid a combined $79,000 in civil penalties for underreporting payroll and paying employees in cash.

According to Gary Pechie, Director of Wage and Workplace Standards, one salon was paying their employees, who were mostly Asian immigrants, as little as $40 a day for a 10-hour shift.  As he told the Hartford Courant, tips may have made their wages above the state minimum wage of $9.15 an hour but only restaurants and bars are allowed to pay servers below the minimum and let tips make up the rest.

The sweep occurred on August 3rd after 25 nail salons were selected at random by the state Department of Labor.  Only two of the businesses were following the law.  In total, 119 employees at 25 salons were being paid under the table.  The state DOL placed stop work orders on the 23 offending salons, which they said were mostly compliant.  To appease the angered customers they allowed those who were mid-manicure to finish. 

SIDENOTE: We never thought we’d use the term “mid-manicure” on this website.

In her piece for the Hartford Courant, writer Mara Lee goes into detail about how immigration status and language barriers were dealt with throughout the investigation.  The DOL confirmed it does not oversee the work status of immigrants, but only seeks to ensure that employers pay a fair wage that includes unemployment insurance and Social Security.

Think Progress connects the action taken in Connecticut to a New York Times exposé which revealed labor abuses in New York City nail salons:

The enforcement actions came after the state’s labor department received complaints from workers who had read an expose in the New York Times on illegal labor and health practices. Those stories have led to many other significant changes in the salon industry, although mostly focused so far in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) created a task force to conduct nail salon inspections and institute new rules, has pushed for legislation to crack down on salons and give the state more power to shut them down, and launched a public education campaign that requires salons to post a “manicurists’ bill of rights” so that workers and the public are aware of legal requirements. The task force has inspected 755 salons and issued 1,799 violations.


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