21 UCLA Asian Pac. Am. L.J. 81 (2016)
Unpretty Nails: Addressing Workers Rights Violation within the Vietnamese Nail Salon Industry

handle is hein.journals/asiapalj21 and id is 85 raw text is: 





Unpretty Nails: Addressing Workers Rights Violation
         within the Vietnamese Nail Salon Industry


                            Dat Tommy Phan*



                                INTRODUCTION
      In May 2015, Saran Maslin Nir's two-part expose for the New York Times
brought to the national public's attention the poor health, safety, and labor condi-
tions for low-wage nail salon workers in the industry, which has long been dom-
inated by a largely first generation immigmnt workforce. Following a 13-month
investigation involving more than 150 interviews with nail salon workers and own-
ers across ethnicities in four languages, Maslin Nir's articles detail a laundry list of
offenses that include wage theft, physical abuse, and health consequences from tox-
ic product exposure.' The expose found that a vast majority of nail salon workers
experienced workers rights violations, including being paid below the legal min-
imum wage, docked tips as punishments for minor transgressions, monitored by
video, and sometimes even physically abused.2 A previous survey by the National
Employment Law Project found that more than one-third of workers in beauty sa-
lons were paid less than minimum wage.3 More importantly, the expose highlighted
the fact that employers were rarely punished for labor and other violations due to
underfunding of government resources for enforcement.





   *   Dat Tommy Phan is a third year law student at UCLA School of Law. He thanks Professor
Jasleen Kohli at the UCLA School of Law, Professor Victor Narro at the UCLA Labor Center, UCLA's
Asian Pacific American Law Journal Staff, and UCLA Law Student Kathleen Semanski, and Staff At-
torney John Trang at Advancing Justice Los Angeles for all of their creative suggestions and feedback
in the development of this paper.
   1.  Sarah Maslin Nir, The Price of Nice Nails, N.Y. TIvMs (May 7, 2015), htp://www.nytimes.
com/2015/05/ 10/nyregionlat-nail-salons-in-nyc-manicurists-are-underpaid-and-unprotected.html?
m-2&mtrref-undefined&gwh-EC39A34869A588473166BCFD4A036932&gwt-pay&assetType-nyt
now; Sarah Maslin Nir, Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers, N.Y. Trvms (May 8, 2015), http://www.ny-
times.com/2015/05/11/nyregion/nail-salon-workers-in-nyc-face-hazardous-chemicals.html.
   2.  Maslin Nir, The Price of Nice Nails, supra note 2.
   3.  Anette Bernhardt, Diana Polson & James DeFilippis, NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT LAW PROJECT,
WORKING WITHOUT LAWS: A SURVEY OF EMPLOYMENT AND LABOR LAW VIOLATIONS IN NEW YORK CITY 27
(Mar. 2015), htp://nelp.org/content/uploads/2015/03/WorkingWithoutLawsNYC.pdf.
 2016 Dat Tommy Phan. All rights reserved.

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