Posh Nail & Spa Replies

I got an email this morning from a woman named Tracy at Posh Nail & Spa. It was in response to Tuesday’s post, which reported that — despite a prominent “Stop-Work” order on their front door — the Post Road West salon remained open.

Tracy wrote:

I would like to talk to you about our salon (posh spa) being posted in your blog. They now have took the stop work sign off as of today. I would really appreciate it if you can take our article down from your blog. The  reason is alot of our clients think we are not running business any longer.

I said I would be happy to do that — if she could answer the question of why they defied the Connecticut Department of Labor notice.

Posh Nail & Spa's doors were open Tuesday, despite the stop-work sign on the door. They're now legally open, they say.

Posh Nail & Spa’s doors were open Tuesday, despite the stop-work sign on the door. They’re now legally open, they say.

The next email came from Ahyoung Oh, who said:

Yes so the department of labor came out on monday suddendly and asked for all the proof of documents of all the employees in our salon. The reason why they put up that stop work sign just because we didnt have those files right at that moment which we keep all in our office. We were very shocked and scared at the moment. After that incident we spoked to our lawyer and had the stop work sign taken off.

Which still did not answer the question. Ahyoung Oh then said:

The reason why we had to stay open despite the sign was because we have known our clients for a really long time and the appointments were fully booked so we wanted to keep promise to our clients.

There you have it. I’ll leave it to “06880” commenters — clients and others — to discuss the ethics of this situation.

30 responses to “Posh Nail & Spa Replies

  1. I cannot think of anything more tragic than having one’s nail appointment canceled due to compliance with state orders! 😉

    • Elina Lublinsky

      Hahaha!
      Good one… especially considering the utter lack of nail salons in our town.

  2. Well it appears they got the accountability to their clients part right and the accountability part of the Department of Labor wrong… Guess they saw it as a wash! WOW… Well, got to finish filing my own nails.

  3. Dan Lasley (Laz)

    If the required documents were provided within 24 hours and were satisfactory, then the DOL is in the wrong here. It is not unusual for personnel files to be kept at a central office. There is no reason to let a gov’t official bully you.
    I applaud Posh for honoring their commitment to their customers.

  4. Evidently the possibility of a canceled appointment did prove to be tragic for
    some of their customers who chose to ignore the sign prominently displayed on the door and enter anyway to get their nails done….what does that say about the women who went in anyway ?

  5. lorraine harrison

    so they got a lawyer to postpone the stop work… I believe the employees are underpaid… not unusual in this industry.. I dont go to salons ,,, hope they all go away…

  6. The law is the law..why is it that some people think they are above it?? Certainly they are entitled to their day in court as it were, but in the meantime they should have closed.

  7. Stephanie Bass

    I think a lot of assumptions are being made here; Lorraine, you don’t know if these employees are underpaid. You don’t patronize them and “You hope they go away” — perhaps in the future you can share your opinions on topics you know something about.

    It appears as if a government agency arrived at the door, asked for paperwork, and when it was not immediately turned over, posted a sign. The salon was not given a reasonable amount of time to produce the documents, which may have been in a central locations as there are more than one places of business. This seems a very aggressive and anti-business move. There may have been a language problem. A principle may not have been on the premises.

    They DID reach their attorney and get back to the government agency very quickly. But in the meantime, POSH, which is arguably the best nail salon in town — clean, no newbies employed, pleasant atmosphere — received very bad publicity. Shame on the rush to condemn.

  8. Arlene Avellanet

    I have been going to Posh in Fairfield for ages. I’d like to give Posh the benefit of the doubt on the comments made but I can’t, not after the expose in the New York Times.

    And dedication to their clients- oh come on now.

  9. Michael Calise

    Without taking a position as to the salons responsibility it does surprise me that we are all so quick to defend a state that has overburdened all of us with more legislation and taxation then is necessary to run a free and open society

  10. Bart Shuldman

    If a business feels they are innocent-they should stay open. Innocent until proven guilty I believe, is the law of the land. And wanting to insure their customer was provided the service they expected is wonderful, despite what the state person did. I hope more go to Posh to show their support of their actions. Shame on the state for being so agressive it could have truly hurt their business.

    • Playing devil’s advocate, what if the business was a restaurant that had been shut for health code violations? The owners believed they were not in violation. Thoughts?

      • Bart Shuldman

        Good and fair question. If a health code violation was determined, then they are ‘guilty’ of breaking the code and should be shut down or closed until the remediation is complete.

      • Dan Lasley (Laz)

        But if that restaurant had employment irregularities, it would not be shut down. Only if there is an imminent health risk would they close the business. I think…

  11. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    That’s why a good restaurateur always makes sure the employees scrub beneath their nails.

  12. Laurie Goldberg

    I have been an intermittent customer at Posh for years. They are a well-run place, it’s clean, they disinfect everything, the employees all seem to be comfortable working there and appreciate their jobs. You can usually tell when the management at a service-oriented place sucks, because the employees are miserable and they pass it on to the customers. That’s not the case here. I think the state WAS heavy-handed and this business deserves the benefit of the doubt. I have as much of a problem with the rampant BANK proliferation than I do with small businesses like nail salons and when they (the banks) are bad actors in much more significant ways than this picayune stuff they typically walk away unpunished and unscathed. Let’s get a sense of perspective here.

    • That’s why I consider you one of my closest friends….you call it as you see it and love you and your other half for your honest candor!

  13. Stephanie Bass

    Bill C: Why would you assume that the owner was given several chances to produce documents? I’ve been going there for over 10 years and the woman in charge — not sure if she is the owner or manager — is very savvy and charming, responding to everything that goes on in the salon. I’ll bet you $5 that they did not drag their feet producing paperwork. Are you on?

  14. “it was more about if we had all the legal employment document at that moment.” Oh boy. Talk about adding fuel to the fire. I’m pretty sure the employee who wrote this was told this, but it’s not true, and can’t be true. It’s not true because the stop order clearly said “Misrepresenting employees as private contractors.” It can’t be true because the USCIS is tasked with dealing with undocumented workers not DoL. The DoL is tasked with enforcing labor laws fairly among legal and illegal workers, and thus immigration status is purposefully not addressed for fear it would deter undocumented workers from filing abuse claims.

    For sure there are some pretty interesting ethical dilemmas to ponder here. If your employees routinely make triple the minimum wage including tips, but you pay them a base wage of less than the minimum, can you characterize and rationalize your actions as a form of civil disobedience if you believe the law is unfair? If you misinform your employees about why your company was issued a stop order in order to not have them panic, are you telling a white lie or a blatant lie? Is ignoring a stop order an act of loyalty or an act of defiance, or perhaps merely a monetary decision? How much do you factor in, if at all, the ethical/religious/cultural ways of the owners vs. simply focusing on the service they provide?

    • Dan Lasley (Laz)

      Jeff – everything you say makes sense, until you read that it all went away with one phone call.

      • Dan, because DoL cases involve complaints, replies, settlements, etc., that would be like saying a court case went away with a phone call. I highly doubt it, but hope I am wrong. The similar case I was involved in took more than a year to resolve.

    • Arlene aavellanet

      “How much do you factor in, if at all, the ethical/religious/cultural ways of the owners vs. simply focusing on the service they provide?”

      We all have our private ways, but publicly we follow the laws of the Town, County, State and Country.

      Period

      • Period? Not really.

        ” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

        Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.”

  15. Elaine Marino

    Could the Dept of Labor shut down a business without giving the business owner a chance to produce the required records? That seems outrageous. So, I did a quick google search and found a link on the CT DOL website that governs, “Investigations on complaint of nonpayment of wages and certain misrepresentations re employees.”

    http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/StopWork/Section31-76a.htm

    Subsection (c) of this law provides:

    (c) (1) If the commissioner determines, after an investigation pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, that an employer is in violation of subsection (g) of section 31-288, the commissioner shall issue, not later than seventy-two hours after making such determination, a stop work order against the employer requiring the cessation of all business operations of such employer.

    Subsection (a) states:

    (a) On receipt of a complaint for nonpayment of wages or a violation of the provisions of subsection (g) of section 31-288, the Labor Commissioner, the director of minimum wage and wage enforcement agents of the Labor Department shall have power to enter, during usual business hours, the place of business or employment of any employer to determine compliance with the wage payment laws or subsection (g) of section 31-288, and for such purpose may examine payroll and other records and interview employees, call hearings, administer oaths, take testimony under oath and take depositions in the manner provided by sections 52-148a to 52-148e, inclusive.

    The above would indicate that the DOL received a complaint about Posh Nails, investigated the complaint, and determined that Posh Nails is not compliant. We should be happy that the DOL investigates such complaints and can take action to force an employer to comply with the law.

  16. Shane Johnson

    Dan promised to take down the article (and presumably, not write another) if the business owner would answer his question. She answered his question. Rather than do as he promised, Dan posted the business owner’s response and asked his readers “to discuss the ethics of this situation”.

    It seems to me that there are other questions of ethics to discuss.

    • Bart Shuldman

      Shane. You have it all wrong. Westport is a better town due to 06880. Dan runs the blog and he can make whatever decision he wants regarding it. If you don’t like it-don’t read it. But everyone in Westport should thank Dan for his tireless effort to keep us all informed-whether about history of our town or political or housing concerns. Every resident is kept informed by 06880.

      While it seems apologizing has become a difficult thing to do these days-I suggest you try.

  17. Nancy W Hunter

    I am still wondering why Dan decided to take this particular photo.
    Seems unnecessary.

    • It’s a crusade.

      • Are you saying that Dan Woog is on a crusade against nail salons? Let’s be serious here. The salon got caught misclassifying workers, was investigated by DOL, was found to be in violation of the law and as such was issued a stop work order, didn’t actually stop working (but that is another story) and – a short time later – the salon is now compliant with DOL laws and can continue on serving customers.

        I think the process worked quite well.

  18. Shane Johnson

    Thanks Bart. That makes a lot of sense. There’s no reason to hold Dan accountable. He makes our 1% life great.

    The question I raised was about Dan’s agreement with Posh. He seems to think their view of the situation is one we all should mock. But he offered an a bargain… Answer my question and I will delete the article