ASSEMBLYMAN RON KIM AND SENATOR JESSE HAMILTON INTRODUCE "TRANSPARENCY IN ENFORCEMENT ACT" TO COMBAT DISCRIMINATORY ENFORCEMENT
Targeted Enforcement Leads to 71% of Nail Salon Owners Trying to Sell or Shut Down Stores
54% of Nail Salons Have Laid Off Employees
Flushing, NY - After more than six months of Governor Andrew Cuomo's unilateral decision to exercise a state of emergency against the nail salon industry, new data proves a clear case of disparate impact based on targeted enforcement of the law.
Based on the NY Times investigative reports in May 2015, Governor Cuomo launched a task force and "emergency regulations" on May 18, 2015 to crack down on nail salons. Since then, despite a new law that curtailed the state's ability to unfairly target and single out one community, Governor Cuomo has extended his state of emergency three times to sustain his ability to unilaterally take punitive measures against nail salon workers and owners.
"There is a valuable lesson here for the entire small business community," stated Assemblyman Ron Kim. "This administration has proven that they are willing to disregard the law and without any oversight, target small businesses for short-term headlines. Despite months of our community pleading with Governor Cuomo that his unreachable mandates (wage bonds) and targeted enforcement will cripple the nail salon industry, leaving thousands of workers out of a job, he and others in the executive office did not listen. Consequently, more than 71% of owners are trying to close their shops and 54% have laid off workers. How is this helping our workers?"
The Chinese and Korean nail salon trade groups have worked together to conduct a comprehensive small business survey to measure the disparate impact of Governor Cuomo's unilateral attack against nail salons:
- 28% encountered inappropriate behavior from investigators, communication issues, or other difficulties during investigations.
- 80% of nail salon owners found wage bonds to be unfair and burdensome.
- 22% had to pay collateral or a put down a security deposit in order to purchase wage bonds in addition to their annual premium rate (the average deposit paid: $1,696.39).
- 23% of surveyed owners received fines and penalties from targeted enforcement. Only one store out of all surveyed had any issues with unpaid wages.
- 17% closed their shops while 71% want to sell or shut down.
Many shops have already closed before the surveys were sent out so there is possibly a higher percentage of stores shut down and jobs lost than this survey suggests.
Entire data, based on 194 surveys, which is roughly 5% sample of the industry, can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1CvBelg9nyyyCezByFP-ZOucP10kMK2G-pVUtjh6j5Os/edit?usp=sharing
NEW LEGISLATION: TRANSPARENCY IN ENFORCEMENT ACT (TEA)
In 2015, months of targeted enforcement sanctioned by the state’s emergency status against the nail salon industry resulted in a possible disparate impact against one race group. To prevent these types of unintentional discriminatory enforcement, we need more transparency and openness from all agencies that target small businesses in New York.
TEA will amend the executive law, establishing an annual report of disaggregated demographic data based on race, gender, and region. TEA will amend tax law establishing or resulting from any inspections, pending cases or penalties by the state agency, board, or commission. The language of the legislation can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzBmKKty-GfDcF96VWhsQ2xNdWs/view?usp=sharing
State Senator Jesse Hamilton stated: "I've stood with Assemblyman Kim from the moment we realized there is a double standard against one race group imposed by targeted enforcement of the law. Now we stand together to introduce new legislation that calls for more openness and transparency in the enforcement by agencies like the Department of Labor to avoid future cases of disparate impact."
Joe Lin, Chinese-American Nail Salon Association, stated: "Our community no longer will sit idly by and let the Governor continue to vilify, target, and cripple our hard-working small business owners. We are the backbone of this state's economy. I plan on organizing thousands of workers to advocate for Senator Hamilton and Assemblyman Kim's legislation in Albany, and will also consider a federal lawsuit of discrimination against the Governor."
Peter Yu, Chinese Nail Salon Association of East America, stated: "Our members are beyond frustrated. All we want is a fair shot. When we stood with the Governor six months ago, we thought that he was going to work with our community in educating our members to become better business leaders. Instead, we were blindsided by his punitive policies, leaving many without any choice but to shut down their stores."
Sangho Lee, Korean Nail Salon Association, stated: "Shouldn't this Governor, who preached about supporting small businesses in his 2016 State of the State speech, step up to help us? All we want is to be treated equally and fairly."
Assemblyman Ron Kim stated: "I'm fully aware that Governor Cuomo may never empathize with the plight of hard-working small business owners of New York, who are also usually the workers. We can, however, pass legislation that would prohibit his ability to direct agencies toward actions that may result in a disparate impact against one community. The Transparency in Enforcement Act will hold all state agencies, boards, and commissions accountable and make sure they are not unfairly targeting and mistreating one industry based on gender, race, or region."