After NYT expose, NY Governor vows to fix the ethical nightmare of nail salon labor practices
In response to The New York Times damning two-part expose of wage theft, health hazards and other deplorable labor practices in nail salons, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is promising to mobilize a number of emergency measures to create new safeguards for workers. This includes designating a taskforce with the sole purpose of investigating nail salons statewide and a study by the state Health Department of the most effective safety practices in an industry that requires harsh chemicals and carcinogenic materials.
The New York Times reports: "Salons will be required to publicly post signs that inform workers of their rights, including the fact that it is illegal to work without wages or to pay money for a job — a common practice in the nail salon industry, according to workers and owners. The signs will be in half a dozen languages, including those most spoken in the industry — Korean, Chinese and Spanish."
Under the new laws, salon owners will be forced to pay back wages, as well as be required to be bonded, which will keep owners from hiding assets when found guilty of wage theft. In addition, manicurists will have to wear gloves to prevent contracting skin conditions and protect them from harsh chemicals. Any salons that do not adhere to the new measures will be shut down.
Finally, Cuomo stressed that agencies involved in these investigations will not inquire about workers’ immigration status, which he hopes will urge those who fear deportation to speak up, saying: “We will not stand idly by as workers are deprived of their hard-earned wages and robbed of their most basic rights.”