SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Sept. 20, 2016) — California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Assemblymember Phil Ting’s Assembly Bill (AB) 2437.
The bill, sponsored by Asian Americans Advancing Justice–California (Advancing Justice-CA) and The Oakland Work and Health Program, will require nail salons and other establishments regulated by the state Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) to post a workplace notice explaining applicable wage and hour law requirements in multiple languages, so that all employers and employees are provided meaningful notice of their workplace rights and responsibilities, and the resources available should there be any violations. The notice must be posted by July 1, 2017. This bill requires the Labor Commissioner to consult with the BBC to draft the notice and the required translations.
“Asian Americans Advancing Justice-California and The Oakland Work and Health Program applaud Governor Jerry Brown for signing this important measure. Providing clear notice about the applicable wage and hour laws, in the primary languages used by the workers and owners, ensures that workers and owners in the nail salon and personal care industry are provided meaningful notice about the applicable wage and hour laws,” stated Andrew Medina, California Policy Manager for Advancing Justice–CA. “Meaningful notice and education about the applicable laws is a necessary first step towards addressing the labor violations that persist in the nail salon and personal care industry.”
Due to language and cultural barriers among nail salon owners and employees, there remains persistent confusion about workplace law specific to the nail salon setting. There are approximately 8,000 nail salons operating in California with over 95,000 licensed nail salon technicians, the majority of whom are immigrant women of color. An estimated 80% of nail salon employees and owners throughout the state are Vietnamese immigrant women who are often limited English proficient. Advocates report that employees in the industry are often misclassified as independent contractors and frequently earn less than minimum wage while working long hours without overtime pay or meal and rest breaks. Additionally, due to the misclassification, many nail salon technicians and owners mistakenly believe they are not entitled to worker’s compensation, unemployment benefits, disability or social security.
“AB 2437 is an important step towards protecting the legal rights of nail salon workers in California. Nail salon workers will have increased access to information on their rights at work and begin to understand how to protect themselves from wage theft and misclassification,” said Tracy Nguyen of the Oakland Work and Health Program. “Through focus group, surveys, and interviews in Oakland, we know that wage theft and misclassification are rampant and workers are not reporting these experiences because they do not know their legal rights.”
The notice required by AB 2437 will include information regarding the misclassification of employees as independent contractors, and wage and hour laws regarding the minimum wage, overtime, tips, business expense reimbursements, and protections from retaliation. The notice also contains information on how to report violations of the law, which will encourage vulnerable workers to vindicate their rights, and hold unscrupulous employers accountable. The statutes prescribed by AB 2437 are in effect starting Jan. 1, 2017.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) is the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). Through direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building, Advancing Justice-LA focuses on the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice.