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New York Times Investigation Leads to Wage and Overtime Class Action and Collective Action Claims Against Nail Salons

Although different states have set different minimum wages for the employers that conduct business within each state, no one is allowed to go below the federal minimum wage. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the minimum wage at $7.25 per hour. For employees who earn tips (including waiters, bartenders, and manicurists) the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets an even lower minimum wage at $2.13 per hour.

This is because the law assumes the tipped employees will be earning at least minimum wage through the combination of their wages and their tips. If an employee does not earn enough tips to make up the difference, the FLSA requires the employer to provide the employee with enough wages so the employee makes no less than $7.25 per hour.

After a recent investigation by the New York Times, a chain of nail salons are facing a class action wage and hour lawsuit. The complaint alleges employees were paid only $60 or less for shifts that lasted ten hours. Some of the manicurists allege they were paid as little as $30 per day. They were also allegedly denied breaks, which is in violation of New York labor laws.

At $8.75 per hour, New York’s minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage. Rather than maintaining a set minimum wage for tipped workers, New York labor law involves “a complex calculation of how much a worker is making in tips” that is used to determine what an employee’s hourly wage should be. According to the class action wage and hour lawsuit, the nail salons failed to properly pay the manicurists in accordance with this calculation.

The story the New York Times investigated was on exposing wage and hour law violations and dangerous working conditions. Nail salons can fall into this category because their products tend to contain toxic chemicals that have the potential to cause serious health problems, such as fungal and skin infections.

The class action lawsuit against the chain of Nail salons failed to provide its manicurists with the proper “equipment or ventilation to safely deal with toxic chemicals.”

As a result of the investigation conducted by the New York Times, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has created a task force specifically to investigate nail salons. Many employees – especially those in low-level positions – are often unaware of the rights afforded to them by law, so Governor Cuomo has announced that regulators will notify workers of their rights as part of an education campaign.

Because many of these employees are not native English speakers, the campaign will be conducted in six different languages. Any New York nail salon still violating wage and hour laws could find itself facing a similar lawsuit to the recent class action.

The proposed class would cover anyone who worked for any of the four salons at any time in the past six years. The overtime and break claims would cover any employees who worked at one of the salon locations in the past three years. Reuters, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, estimates the proposed class could include more than 50 people.The Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail chains such as Petsmart, Officemax, Staples, Smart & Final, Apple, Walgreen’s, CVS, Urban Outfitters, GAP, Abercrombie & Fitch, Limited, Forever 21, Macy’s, Target, JC Penney’s, Lowes, Marshalls, TJ Max, Victoria’s Secret, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Best Buy, Home Depot, Apple, Best Buy, Sears, K Mart, J.C Penney, Walmart, Costco, PetSmart, REI and other retail chains for misclassifying employees as managers, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, failing to pay for time spent on security checks, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim this practice call us at one of our offices near Hanover Park and West Chicago at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.