Many nail salons commit wage theft violations by not paying manicurist at least the minimum wage for hours worked, and by making illegal deductions from customer tips or wages. (“The Price of Nails” New York Times, 5/7/15). Manicure industry wage theft is common. For example, nail salons often do not pay newly hired manicurists the required minimum wages for work. While nail salon workers are usually considered “tipped employees” and paid a reduced minimum wage, salon owners often fail to make up the difference between the reduced and full minimum wage when tips are insufficient to allow the technicians to earn at least the full minimum wage and overtime for all hours worked. Many nail salons also do not pay the required minimum wage for weeks or months of training. Some nail salons also illegally require new manicurists to pay a training fee, such $100 to $200, to begin work at the nail salon or to learn a new skill. Nail salons also dock the tips of nail technicians for minor incidents such as spilling a bottle of nail polish. In one nail salon lawsuit, the workers alleged they were paid $1.50 per hour for working a sixty-six (66) hour workweek, paid nothing on slow days, and charged for drinking water. Many nail salon workers are part of a vulnerable population because they are in the country illegally, are undocumented workers, and speak limited English. The wage laws, however, protect even undocumented workers from wage theft.
If your employer or former employer violated your wage rights, call a wage attorney at Bober & Bober, P.A. at 1-800-995-9243 for a free consultation.