Attorneys with the advocacy group, Asians Americans Advancing Justice, have joined a lawsuit accusing an Orange nail salon of exploiting workers through alleged wage abuses. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the lawsuit was filed in Orange County Superior Court on behalf of four Vietnamese American women who used to work at Tustin Nail Spa.
The lawsuit alleges that the four women were forced to work long hours without meal or rest breaks, did not get minimum wage or overtime, were forced to work off the clock and were charged unlawfully for using salon equipment and supplies. The lawsuit was apparently filed in early 2015 by the women and a private attorney, but has not moved far. The advocacy group hopes to revive the case so the women get justice and shed light on prevalent practices within the industry.
Dispute Over Wages
The lawsuit against the nail spa alleges that the former workers got 60 percent of the amount their customers paid for nail services, which Advancing Justice describes as an “unlawful system.” The complaint also alleges that the women worked 12-hour says and the salon owner faked time records to make it look like they were paid hourly. Several investigations including an in-depth article in The New York Times in 2015 found that nail salon workers are routinely underpaid and overworked. The Times found that many workers at such salons are paid less than minimum wage and even have their pay unlawfully withheld.
Knowing Your Rights
There are many ways in which workers may be unpaid or underpaid for the work they do. The following scenarios are all illegal under California. Some workers are asked to work “off the clock” and aren’t paid for it. A good example of this is when your supervisor tells you to get all your work done during regular working hours and tells you to finish up on your own time if you are unable to get everything done within the workday.
Some employers don’t pay overtime even when they ask workers to work beyond regular work hours. Some employers deliberately misclassify hourly workers as “managers” so they don’t have to pay them overtime. Other employers try to get around the minimum wage law in such as way that when you divide your pay by the number of hours, it’s less than the minimum wage. In California, effective Jan. 1, 2017, the minimum wage will be $10.50. Employers are also required to give workers meal breaks and rest breaks in accordance with the law.
It is important that California workers know and understand their rights. If you believe that your rights are being violated, contact an experienced Orange County employment lawyer to obtain more information about your options.