Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday the launch of a multi-agency Enforcement Task Force that will move immediately to prevent unlawful practices and unsafe working conditions in the nail salon industry.
The task force will also recover unpaid wages and shut down unlicensed businesses and businesses out of compliance with state law.
“New York State has a long history of confronting wage theft and unfair labor practices head on and today, with the formation of this new Enforcement Task Force, we are aggressively following in that tradition,” Cuomo said. “We will not stand idly by as workers are deprived of their hard-earned wages and robbed of their most basic rights.”
Immediate actions include new health and safety regulations, mandatory posting about employees rights, education and outreach and community-based partnerships.
In May 2014, the Department of Labor conducted a comprehensive investigation into nail salons that was recently highlighted as part of a two-part series in The New York Times.
“This Task Force will crack down on these kinds of abuses in the nail salon industry, enforce all of New York’s health and safety regulations, and help ensure that no one – regardless of their citizenship status or what language they speak – is illegally victimized by their employer,” said Cuomo
Salons that don’t comply with the new regulations risk having their licenses revoked. The task force is asking community members to identify violators.
The investigation of 29 nail salons resulted in the finding of 116 violations of state labor law. Workers in the story discussed rampant abuse they received and low wages.
As last week’s New York Times exposé showed, there are serious issues that need to be addressed in the spa and beauty industry as far as ensuring the health and safety of both customers and employees in these establishments—especially in regards to helping those workers in the industry who feel they have no voice as far as the substandard conditions in which they are forced to work. That cannot be tolerated,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.