ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York authorities say they have ordered 143 nail salons to pay $2 million in unpaid wages and damages to 652 workers.
A state task force established a year ago said on May 9 that it has opened investigations into more than 450 businesses, completing 383 so far.
The state enacted reforms following a New York Times expose on underpaid nail salon employees, many of them immigrants. The changes include requiring salons to publicly post notices of workers’ rights to legal wages and a safe environment.
As a state license condition, salons are required to get insurance or bonding to cover business liabilities and unpaid wages. Officials say 4,000 salons statewide have secured a bond.
The wage bond mandate drew the ire of many Asian-American nail salon owners, who said they were difficult to obtain. Alleging that the requirement was discriminatory, two Asian-American trade groups sued the state in September to halt the mandate, but their lawsuit was dismissed in December.
State Assemblyman Ron Kim was the main sponsor of the nail salon legislation signed into law last July that gives officials the authority to shutter unlicensed nail salons and those not following the law.
He said he was happy to hear that unpaid salon workers would be able to recover their wages.
Kim is a Korean American whose Queens district includes many Korean- and Chinese-owned nail salons.
Ruth Bayang contributed to this report.