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Conn. Closes Nail Salons Over Accusations Of Wage Violations

The Connecticut Department of Labor has shut down nearly two dozen nail salons across the state. The Labor Department says it's responding to complaints from nail salon employees about health and employment practices.

Unannounced visits on Aug. 3 resulted in stop work orders on more than 20 nail salons in Branford, Darien, Hartford, New Haven, Southport, Stamford, and Westport.

The Labor Department also recovered more than $47,000 in wages allegedly owed to employees and penalized businesses $100,000 for alleged pay and records violations.

Gary Pechie is director of the Labor Department's wage and workplace standards division. He says workers were paid in cash with no payroll records, wages were below the hourly minimum wage of $9.15, and overtime was unpaid.

The nail and spa industry in Connecticut has "kind of been under the radar,'' Pechie said, but officials acted following complaints and a news story published recently by The New York Times detailing wage and hour abuse allegations in New York.

"Let's do a random sweep,'' Pechie recounted. "Lo and behold, we found noncompliance.''

The New York Times reported in May that many nail salon workers are underpaid, and that they also suffer health problems like miscarriages, skin disease, and asthma. Earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that includes regulations to protect nail salon workers.

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