A recent lawsuit claims that nail salon owners make a habit of mistreating their employees; specifically the suit claims that nail salons are stealing their employee’s wages. The suit was filed by four nail salon employees: Tuyet Mai Nguyen, Thu Hang Pham, Jenny Hoang, and Trinh Truong. The women sued the Tustin Nailspa in Orange, California claiming the company withheld their wages, deducted money from their paychecks for the use of salon supplies and equipment, and other labor code violations.
The plaintiffs have been employed at Tustin Nailspa for the last ten years. Over that course of time, the salon has had several different owners. The women claim the problems started when additional chairs were added in 2005. The owners wanted to recoup their investment and see the increased profits more quickly so they allegedly took it out on the employees. The employees’ hours were allegedly increased, they were underpaid, not compensated for overtime worked, forced to skip lunch, and did not receive any type of extra compensation for their additional work.
Tustin Nailspa has faced lawsuits before. In 2013, a former employee sued citing similar allegations. In response, an investigation was opened into the salon by the California Department of Industrial Relations, a Division of Labor Standard Enforcement. The investigation resulted in $28,000 in fines against the salon owners.
Allegations in the current suit were made against multiple owners as the malpractices are claimed to have spanned a time period during which ownership changed hands. Plaintiffs are seeking recompense from both current and former owners involved in the alleged violations. The owners, through legal representation have denied the allegations and claim the plaintiffs are simply disgruntled former employees.
The plaintiffs have experienced some trouble in their attempts to get the case to court. Their first attorney was removed due to a conflict and their second attorney was not fluent in Vietnamese so the women struggled to communicate their needs. The case is generating awareness of the challenges faced by immigrants attempting to navigate the American legal system as well as the potential for mistreatment of employees in nail salons across the country.
If you have questions about filing a lawsuit, California labor law or how to obtain overtime compensation, please get in touch with one of the experienced southern California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.