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Long Island nail salons ordered to pay $212,700 to workers

Eight Long Island nail salons have been directed

Eight Long Island nail salons have been directed to pay $212,700 in back wages and damages, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office announced Monday, May 9, 2016. Credit: Marisol Diaz

Eight Long Island nail salons, from Garden City to Bridgehampton, have been directed to pay $212,700 in back wages and damages, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office announced.

The money is owed to 18 employees.

The Long Island salons are among 143 around the state ordered to pay a total of $2 million in unpaid wages and damages to 652 employees, the governor’s office said.

They are V Spa Nail & Salon and Lavender Nail & Spa, both in Garden City; Five Star Nails in Freeport; Joann Nail Salon in Hempstead; Angel Tips Nail Spa in Bridgehampton; Plaza Nails in Holbrook; Brilliant Nail Spa in Huntington and Monroe Nail & Spa in Smithtown.

Some of the owners denied failing to pay workers minimum wage. The owner of Lavender, who identified himself only as Brian, said Wednesday, “I have no issue with the Labor Department. They investigated two times and there was no problem.”

The co-owner of Five Star said that the complaints against his business came from disgruntled employees who later opened competing salons. “Whatever they told the inspectors wasn’t true,” Jin Chen said Wednesday.

V Spa Nail manager Kay Park, said that nail technicians there are paid more than minimum wage. “My boss paid everything correctly,” she said.

A woman who identified herself as Ok Kim, a Plaza Nails manicurist, said the manager wasn’t in, but added that the shop felt picked on. “Everybody got more than minimum wage,” Kim said. “We feel like it’s unfair.”

People answering the phone at the other four salons said the owners weren’t in.

A year ago, Cuomo created the Nail Salon Industry Enforcement Task Force to address “widespread exploitation and abuse of nail salon workers.” Since then, the task force, led by the state Labor Department, has investigated more than 450 nail salons, the office said. And 383 of those probes have been completed. The task force was organized after a New York Times expose on the industry.

Owners can agree with the findings and pay, or they can provide records justifying lower amounts in back wages or work out a settlement, the governor’s office said.

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