NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced agreements Friday with two salons in Queens that allegedly violated New York labor laws.
The Jackson Heights-based Tatyana Enterprises Inc. will pay $40,000 to eight employees who were fired after refusing to sign bogus back-dated agreements that misstated their employment terms, while the Sunnyside-based Bliss Nail Salon must pay $5,000 to a manicurist who was told she had to pay a deposit to work there and was not entitled to overtime or minimum wage because she was a trainee.
"All New York businesses must pay legally-required wages to employees and respect their workers' basic rights," Schneiderman said. "The state grants a license to salon owners in order for them to operate and they, like all business owners, must take the appropriate steps to follow our state's labor laws."
Schneiderman's office filed a lawsuit on February 27 against Tatyana Enterprises and Tatyana Muratov, the company's owner, alleging numerous labor law violations. Schneiderman's office obtained a judicial order to freeze any proceeds from a planned sale of the business. The $40,000 settlement represents the $30,000 sale price for the salon and an added $10,000.
In July 2011, Tatyana Enterprises allegedly demanded its employees sign the contracts to state they were independent contractors who rented chairs in the salon, not regular employees. The company allegedly failed to pay overtime and sought to restrict employees from performing similar work within a 15-mile radius. The company fired employees for refusing to sign the contracts. Advocacy group Make the Road New York referred the case to Schneiderman's office.
Bliss Nail Salon allegedly required a manicurist, a Nepali immigrant speaking limited English, to work for only small amounts of money between March 2012 and May 2012. She was allegedly paid $30 for a 10-hour work day. Adhikaar, a Nepali community-based organization, referred the Bliss Nail Salon case to Schneiderman's office.
New York Labor Law requires employers to pay employees at least $7.25 per hour, plus overtime at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for hours worked past 40. The law also prohibits retaliation against employees who complain about labor law violations to the employer or the government.