Last May, in the wake of the New York Times investigation into abuses against workers in the nail-salon industry, Governor Cuomo assembled a task force to inspect nail salons in the state to make sure they comply with labor laws. And today the governor is expected to announce that, since May of 2015, state nail salons have been ordered to pay more than $2 million in back pay and damages to workers.
The Daily News reports that Cuomo will announce that, since its launch last year, the Nail Salon Industry Enforcement Task Force has ordered 143 salons to repay 652 workers who were either paid less than minimum wage or were illegally denied overtime. The paper reports that the task force has launched investigations into 450 nail salons, some chosen because of a history of complaints, but most chosen at random. The task force has completed 383 of those investigations, and issued orders to pay unpaid wages to 143, most of which are in the city. The News reports that it’s unclear how much of the more than $2 million owed by salon owners has already been paid.
A spokesperson for the governor said that, in some cases, workers were being paid a wage that came out to just $4 to $5 an hour, well below the minimum wage. Others didn’t pay workers for their first few weeks on the job, and sometimes required them to pay $200 to $300 to be trained. And some deducted the cost of gloves and masks from workers’ paychecks, even though the salons are required to provide them.
Said Cuomo, “New York State is cracking down like never before on the unscrupulous individuals that take advantage of the hardworking people they employ.”