Beauty Industry Group Sues Over Shop Closings

Newsom announced last week that salons could not reopen yet after revealing that the first case of known community-to-community transmission of the coronavirus in the state, in February, had been traced to a nail salon. He did not give further details about the salon or the patient.

In the lawsuit, the Professional Beauty Federation of California and others say that the order to remain closed deprives salon workers of their constitutional rights and that the classifications of “essential” vs. “nonessential” businesses are arbitrary, among other complaints.

Newsom announced last week that salons could not reopen yet after revealing that the first case of known community-to-community transmission of the coronavirus in the state, in February, had been traced to a nail salon. He did not give further details about the salon or the patient.

The revelation came in response to a reporter’s question about why salons were put in phase 3 of reopening, after parks and retail stores were allowed to reopen Friday, May 8. “This whole thing started in the state of California — the first community spread — at a nail salon,” Newson said at a news briefing. “I’m very worried about that.  Phase 3, when the salons are due to open, “may not even be more than a month away,” he said.  The February transmission occurred, he said, even though salon workers were already practicing protective measures such as wearing masks and gloves.  Before opening the salons and beauty colleges back up, he said, “We just want to make sure we have a protocol in place to secure the safety of customers, the safety of employees, and allow the business to thrive in a way that is sustainable.”

California’s shutdown that went into effect in mid-March affects barbers, aestheticians, electrologists, hair stylists, cosmetologists, and manicurists, said Fred Jones, counsel for the Professional Beauty Federation of California and a lobbyist.

He says that health and safety instruction make up a large part of the salon workers’ training.

In California, 621,742 people hold licenses from the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.

The Board of Barbering and Cosmetology’s laws and regulations that cover people providing salon services already require a number of health and safety measures, such as disinfecting tools and foot spas, single use of towels and robes, and personal cleanliness for workers providing services. Cheri Gyuro, a spokesperson for the California Department of Consumer Affairs, says the board is working on guidelines for COVID-19 that will be made public when they are complete.


How To Wrestle With Non-Compete Contracts in the Beauty/Cosmetic Industry

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You’d expect a fat non-compete clause in a top-tier investment banker’s employment contract. Yet more companies of all stripes are foisting non-compete contracts on lower-level lieutenants–and even line workers.

Some employers also use non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements. A non-disclosure agreement helps an organization safeguard its trade secrets and other proprietary information. Under the agreement, employees are prohibited from disclosing this information. Confidentiality agreements are similar, except that the agreement requires that one or both parties must keep information confidential.

“Even though hair stylists aren’t six-figure earners, they are frequently being asked to sign [non-competes],” says David Conforto , an attorney at Conforto Law Group in Boston. Conforto recently won an injunction for a stylist client so she could continue to work; the judge deemed her non-compete contract un-enforceable because of the high demand for qualified stylists.

Employers wield non-competes to stanch turnover and keep a firm grip on proprietary client lists and critical research. And with global competition more fierce than ever, the paranoia is at a fever pitch. Being a member of this so-called professional industry a few words of wisdom from me to you may help you from being deceived from business owners who rent chairs. After your interview make sure you take a copy of the contract to a lawyer, NOT YOUR FRIEND TO READ. But a Lawyer. Sign nothing, and if the owner will not let you take it out of the salon to give to an attorney, they are probably 100% not honest with you. SCAMMERS are abundant in the beauty industry my friends. Do not get your advice on Non-Compete contracts from a beauty industry magazine, beauty industry website, a hair idol, or so-called Icon, but from an attorney licensed in your state. Read On My Friends.

In Pictures: Five Tips For Negotiating Non-Compete Contracts

While you probably can’t avoid having to sign these contracts, you should make every effort to negotiate as much wiggle room as possible. It is your business and you must conduct yourself as a business owner.

First step: Hire an attorney to vet your contract before you sign it. Yes, you might pay $200 to $500 an hour for the privilege, but that’s probably a good bet. The cost of going to trial over a breach of a non-compete typically runs in the tens of thousands of dollars. Even if you do win the case, you don’t recoup those legal fees, as defendants typically do in other cases. If you lose, you’re out of work to boot.

If you’re presented with a non-compete clause, send your potential employer a letter confirming that you are consulting an attorney to make sure you understand all the terms. Declaring that step in writing is important because it prevents the employer from retaliating by swiping the job offer later on. (Judges don’t look too kindly on a move like that.)

In lieu of a traditional non-compete contract, try to angle for a “non-disclosure” or a “non-solicitation” agreement. Non-disclosure agreements stipulate that departing employees can’t make off with valuable research, while non-solicitation agreements prohibit them from going after important clients–except those they cultivated prior to joining the company. If that doesn’t work, focus on winnowing the scope of the non-compete. “The employer is going to push it to be as broad as possible, but you want to make it as restricted as possible without jeopardizing the job offer. Two key elements here: geography and time. Try to limit both. Reasonable restrictions will vary by industry, of course.

For example, temporarily barring a hairstylist from working in an entire county might not be plausible, but shackling a pharmaceutical rep in the same area might. Contracts stating that you can’t work in the industry throughout the U.S. probably won’t hold up in court, although some tech companies may be able to enforce them, because of the global nature of the Internet. The same strategy goes for the time span of the non-compete. The standard window for these contracts is six months to a year. Anything more than two years is downright draconian, and probably won’t hold up in court. Then again, don’t count on a judge to bail you out. “You still have to pay for litigation, or hope that your new employer will pay for it. In a tough economy, that’s a chance you probably don’t want to take. Take my advice my fellow professionals go see a lawyer.

Legal matters

While there are no federal laws directly governing non-compete agreements, some states do address the legality of such agreements. Under Wisconsin law, for example, the agreements must:

  • Be necessary for the protection of the employer;
  • Provide a reasonable time period;
  • Cover a reasonable territory;
  • Not be unreasonable to the employee; and
  • Not be unreasonable to the general public.

Although most states will enforce non-compete agreements if they are “reasonable” in terms of breadth and length of the restriction, the definition of what is “reasonable” varies. When crafting a non-compete agreement, an organization must pay careful attention to the agreement’s scope. An overly limiting agreement may be deemed un-enforceable by state courts.