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Immigrant workers cheated out of wages

We often hear stories about immigrant workers being paid substantially less than their native born co-workers. With so much attention being paid to the issue in recent years, it is surprising to hear that in some industries, the pay standard is still grossly askew. However, after The New York Times reported on the serious disparity between immigrant nail salon workers pay and the national average minimum wage, the Department of Labor decided to go one step further to look into it.

The director of the wage and workplace standards division of the Department of Labor decided to randomly check several nail salons on the East Coast. During these unannounced visits, immigrant workers were interviewed at random and asked a series of questions regarding their wage and work hours. The findings were shocking to say the least. An unprecedented number of hour and wage violations were discovered, and brought about more than $100,000 in fines and penalties. The disparity between what should have been paid and what was actually paid to immigrant workers was roughly $47,000 between the 25 salons visited.

Among the various wage and hour violations, the Department of Labor investigation found that many salons failed to keep payroll records, didn't provide workers' compensation benefits, and neglected to pay overtime. One salon was even found to pay $4 per hour which is less than half of the state's minimum wage requirement.

Immigrant workers may run a higher risk of being taken advantage of in the workplace. For individuals that feel their employers are in violation of wage or hour requirements, speaking to a skilled immigration attorney may help. You are entitled to equal pay for equal work and with their knowledge of immigration and employment law you may get it.

Source: CT Mirror, Nail salons are ubiquitous, and so are labor violations, Mark Pazniokas, Aug. 17, 2015

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