New York Governor Orders Protection For Exploited Nail Salon Workers

A two-part investigative series in The New York Times found that many manicurists in New York work obscenely long hours, are regularly exposed to toxic chemicals, and are severely underpaid. There's never been any real protection for them — until now.

Following this wake-up call, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered emergency measures on Sunday to regulate and improve the deplorable working conditions that have become routine for many of nail salon employees.

More from the Times:

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.

Fearing deportation, undocumented workers rarely speak up about mistreatment. Therefore, the governor's office will roll out an education campaign to inform immigrant workers they have the right to be treated and compensated like any other worker, according to the Times.

So, the next time we think we "need" a manicure, let's consider the human rights cost of getting one.

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