Nail salon chain hit with class action lawsuit

Natalie Salon has locations in Palo Alto and Menlo Park

A class action lawsuit was filed in San Mateo County Superior Court Tuesday against a popular nail salon chain accused of wage theft and

other violations against their employees, an attorney with the Asian Law Caucus said.

Natalie Salon, a chain with locations in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Mateo and Los Gatos, is being sued by four current and former employees with the assistance of the San Francisco-based Asian Law Caucus, which held a news conference Tuesday to announce the lawsuit.

"On behalf of all former and current employees, we're seeking to end unlawful business practices" at the salons, said Winnie Kao, staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus.

Vicky Tran, who worked at various Natalie Salons for about five years, said she often worked for more than 10 hours a day, but never got paid overtime and often had to delay her lunch meal until very late in the day.

"It's wrong to treat the employees that way," Tran said.

Natalie Salon management were not immediately available for comment on the lawsuit.

Kao said the Asian Law Caucus got involved in the case after one of the employees came to a free clinic the group held and told them about the alleged violations.

She said the Asian Law Caucus has kept a watchful eye on the nail salon industry, which has seen the number of salons triple in the U.S. in the past decade, changing the business "from a luxury service to a relatively inexpensive indulgence."

Of the roughly 96,000 licensed nail salon workers in California, it is estimated that more than half are Vietnamese, and the vast majority are women who are recent immigrants with limited English proficiency and lack of knowledge about their rights.

Kao said those factors lead to many workers who are too scared to come forward and report possible misdeeds by employers.

"Beauty shouldn't come at the expense of workers' rights," she said.

The lawsuit seeks reimbursement for all employees at the salons who may have lost wages over the past four years and seeks to stop the allegedly unlawful practices at the salons, Kao said.

— Bay City News Service


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda Craig
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 14, 2011 at 10:39 am

I hope that this salon is not confused with "Natalie's Twist and Curl" in Menlo Park also on El Camino. Natalies T&C is your basic beauty salon for mostly us olders. Their employees are fully licensed, and actually reasonable too.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joyce
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 14, 2011 at 11:29 am

I am a big fan of this place and visit this salon very often in Redwood city salon. For some reason when I read just the title of this article I thought this is one Natalie's Saloon. Very high prices and any amount you tip the employees they are very thankful & greatful........

Shame on business folks who take advantage of employees who work very hard and get peanuts for pay checks.....

Hope they get fined heavily:

Following are their amounts:

Hair color <full> : 65.00 USD
Touch-up hair color: 55.00 USD
Manicure: 25:00 USD
Pedicure: 35:00's not that the saloon isn't making money, it's just that they are not paying fair and legal amounts to the employees......

Sad but true.....

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sara
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 14, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Can we please not have any more nail salons in Palo Alto? We have too many already!

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 15, 2011 at 2:46 am

I hate to hear about these workers being taken advantage if. Hope the lawyer wuns abd that the salon owners lose their licenses (greedy taskmasters)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2011 at 10:30 am

I filed a complaint with the better business bureau* about them years ago in Menlo Park. They were rude, clueless and hurt me at this salon when getting a manicure on my birthday. The owner sat there,watched while fixing her make-up. Their employees were angry and very poorly trained. Never again.

* This was useless. They did nothing. Thank goodness for YELP.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Sep 15, 2011 at 10:46 pm

This in nothing compared to other salons that take 20% of the employee tip and don't give it back. Then, they take addition 10% off every paycheck. So all the unlawful nail salons should go out of business! Thank goodness for the Asian law caucus.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jessica
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Sep 17, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I wonder if these Nail salons provide employee health benefits? As I know most salons open from 9AM to 7PM which is more than 8 hours. So should the employees have full benefits as required by law. EDD should check into these salons for the many violations.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Theotherside
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Nov 14, 2011 at 9:45 pm

This is one sided story. Let's hear the owner's side.

Why would most people chose to do this when they are smart enough to find other jobs? Greed and Lazy people. Now they turn their back against their sponsor and helper.
Bad for business and customers.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tessa Gallo
a resident of Los Altos
on Feb 27, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I have been to Natalie Salon for many years. I know the owners they are immigrants too; they work so hard to do their best for their employees, they are so nice and treat their employees well, but only couple of them turn around to their employers. Even, they stole customers and open the nail shop across from Natalie Salon in Redwood City.

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