Governor Cuomo announced the creation of new task force to investigate nail salons in New York, days after the NY Times published a thorough exposé on the exploitative, abusive, and physically harmful nail salon industry.

In a statement issued today, Coumo said, “New York State has a long history of confronting wage theft and unfair labor practices head on, and today, with the formation of this new Enforcement Task Force, we are aggressively following in that tradition." He continued, "This Task Force will... help ensure that no one—regardless of their citizenship status or what language they speak—is illegally victimized by their employer.”

The new task force will conduct investigations of salons across the state, and will work with the state Health Department to come up with new safety measures to protect manicurists. For starters, salon workers will now be required to wear gloves "where warranted," as protection from chemical burns and fungal infections. The plan also includes a face mask requirement, although the Times points out that they "do almost nothing" to prevent exposure to chemicals which can cause birth defects and miscarriage.

Cuomo has committed to a six-language campaign to inform the workers of their rights, starting with multi-language signs to be posted in all salons, informing workers that it is illegal to work without wages, much less pay your boss for the chance to audition for a job (a practice the Times found to be common). Since many salon workers are undocumented and fear retribution for speaking up, the task force will not inquire about immigration status.

Salons that are unlicensed, or refuse to pay back wages, will be shut down. According to the governor's office, "Where a nail salon fails to comply with an order to pay assessed back wages, an additional bond to cover those wages and two years’ worth of future wages will be demanded by the Department of Labor."