Days after the New York Times published a devastating investigation of employee exploitation and abuse at nail salons, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced what the paper describes as an “emergency” set of regulations to protect the health and financial rights of salon workers:
Effective immediately, he said in a statement, a new, multiagency task force will conduct salon-by-salon investigations, institute new rules that salons must follow to protect manicurists from the potentially dangerous chemicals found in nail products, and begin a six-language education campaign to inform them of their rights.
Nail salons that do not comply with orders to pay workers back wages, or are unlicensed, will be shut down.
Among the specific, mandatory measures the governor says will be implemented are the use of protective masks and gloves and the posting of workplace signs (in languages including Korean, Chinese, and Spanish) that will “inform workers of their rights, including the fact that it is illegal to work without wages or to pay money for a job.”
Slate’s Jordan Weissmann wrote last Thursday that advocating for this kind of regulatory government intervention—as opposed to tipping more or boycotting suspect businesses—is likely the most effective anti-exploitation measure that concerned salon customers can take.