Nailed?

An alert “06880” reader emailed yesterday. She noticed a “Stop-Work” order taped to the front door of Posh Nail & Spa, next to Whole Foods, and wondered what was up.

I checked it out today. There it was, bright red and very official looking:

Posh Nails 2

Dated yesterday (August 3), the notice from the State Department of Labor Wage & Workplace Standards Division explained the violation: “Misrepresenting employees as private contractors.”

It added that if an employer conducts business operations in violation of the stop-work order, a penalty of $1,000 a day would be assessed.

Posh Nails doesn’t care.

As I took photos of the notice, 3 customers opened the door and walked right in.

An employee — perhaps an owner or manager (definitely not a private contractor, though) — came out.

Posh Nails

When I asked if they were open, she said yes.

When I said, “What about this notice?” she said “No comment.”

Then she took my picture too.

20 responses to “Nailed?

  1. Mary Ruggiero

    I thought a stop work order meant stop the construction work, not close the business.

  2. Brett Aronow

    LOL, Dan, you should have gone for the spa pedicure — very relaxing! and you can do your writing at the same time!!!

  3. Jill Turner Odice

    Wow, what an eye opener that NY times article is! It reminds me of when I worked at a certain Mexican restaurant in Wspt. The owners would go to Brownsville Texas and pick up illegal aliens and bring them to Wspt to work in their restaurants saying they would help them get their green card…they had them sleeping on the restaurant floor, in their garage…needless to say they did not pay well either and when one of their workers fell on the slippery stairs carrying a heavy trash can, they would not even pay the doctor bill until they were sued in Worker’s Compensation court…

  4. Sue Weingarten

    Azena, near Barnes and Noble is closed too, with the same notice on the door.

  5. Roseanne Levy

    Do any of your readers know of nail salons where the workers are licensed?
    It would be good to know they are making a living wage.

  6. I am told by a sound source that the labor department is going after many of these owners for not treating contract workers as true employees as they should. Irrespective of whether they are bused in, paid cash or just make tips the CT statues likely define them as employees for payroll purposes. The source says many pay in cash and do not collect wage taxes, pay the employers share of payroll taxes nor pay unemployment insurance. Looks like the cost of a Mani-Pedis is going up.

  7. Nancy W Hunter

    Is Westport now a town of paranoid secret agents with cameras at the ready to report all “wrong doing” in nail salons, parking areas, light stops, cross walks, dog parks, beach tables… ? Or is Westport just bored?

  8. By lableing your staff as independant contractors the owners are, like restaurant waiters etc, not responsible to pay employee tax to the govt. (state). The staff are responsible for filing their own tax returns declaring their wages and tips. Well, you know the state is going to go after these establishments as there’s a huge tax loss here. Especially if the staff don’t file taxes at all (illegals) losing lots of $$. All the state has to prove is one of: the worker has a schedule, is told when to come in and leave, told what to wear, prob more. Good luck Salons, prob can only say in their defense if “no comment” doesn’t work is: “no speak English”….

    • The government “goes after” these salons because people are being taken advantage of and not paid a fair wage. They didn’t “go after” them for years because they weren’t aware of them until investigative journalism uncovered the scam. Just because a scam is widespread, that doesn’t make it common knowledge.

  9. Of course it’s our government putting mom and pop stores out of business and taking food out of immigrants mouths to fund the IRS and Obamacare. People in many jobs happily worked for tips for years. Closing these businesses will result in vacant shops, less competition, much higher cost of service and many more unemployed workers. But at least those left in business will make a whopping $9 per hour base pay…

    • You’re joking, right?

      • No, it’s not a joke Evan. This is not about protecting workers it is about breaking the independent contractor. It is about Obamacare and payroll tax. Sadly it is all about the government getting more money out of small business.
        http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2013/07/30/irs-inspector-urges-crackdown-on-mislabeling-independent-contractors/

        • Obviously, this is a joke (even if the joker doesn’t realize it).

          I know that there are people on the planet who like to blame Obama for everything, but this is a matter of full-time employees being misrepresented as independent contractors, for the purposes of avoiding paying taxes, unemployment insurance payments, etc.

          Maybe Jeff can bring Benghazi into this, next?

          • Blaming Obama? Stop the paranoid rhetoric Chris, I was responding to Evan Stein who believed this was our Government helping workers who were being taken advantage of. I pointed out that it’s clearly about revenue and healthcare. It appears you agree with me! The consequence of this policy is devastating business models large and small. From real estate agents who receive no pay to Uber drivers and waiters to national sales forces. The law currently allowes for independent contractors to report individually and for their employees to use them when and if needed while avoiding payroll tax, unemployment insurance and healthcare. The narrowing of this definition at its most basic level costs businesses and workers and benefits Government. Everyone is always lamenting about the loss of mom and pop stores and the middle class, etc. Well, IMO and that of many economists, this policy is putting another nail in that coffin. Thanks

  10. ps: the salon is screwed and fined big time. State can go back years amounting to tens of thousands! BUT there will be a new salon in it’s place in a few days prob the same owner with a new name like “Posh 2”