New Jersey Legislators Propose Law to Protect Nail Salon Workers

The proposed law would require salon workers, who handle products that include chemicals like acetone and formaldehyde, to wear gloves, face masks and goggles when working with potentially harmful substances. Salon owners would also have to post a sign in a visible location and in multiple languages listing state labor rights.

In New York, a series of rules have been enacted in recent months, including making running an unlicensed salon a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine, as well as mandating that workers wear gloves.

Those actions followed articles by The New York Times that illustrated rampant labor abuses — long hours and little, sometimes no, pay — and dangers that workers in New York City face in an industry staffed in large part by immigrants, many of whom are undocumented.

In New Jersey, the lawmakers said, the conditions were similar.

In a statement, the proposed law’s other sponsor, State Senator Diane Allen, said workers were “forced to live in fear and put their lives at risk.”

“It is our responsibility,” she said, “to ensure that all workers in New Jersey have access to safe working conditions and that their basic rights are upheld, regardless of what language they speak.”

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