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Saigon Grill Owners Arrested

Events, Lily's notes, Uncategorized

The story of Saigon Grill seems to have an ending which may include jail time for the owners for charges stemming from their treatment of their employees and for submitting falsified information to authorities. Today The NY Times reports on the arrest of the owners of Saigon Grill for a variety of criminal acts and explains this in detail.

A GothamGirl correspondent has spoken with Richard Nget, brother of the owners Simon and Michelle Nget, and manager of Saigon Grill on 90th Street and Amsterdam Avenue,  over years and again this past week days before the arrests.

He asked Mr. Nget years ago, before the action and dispute with their employees, “How have you kept your prices so low for years? ” and he replied: “I am afraid to change prices, because I am afraid that if I do it will bring bad luck”. Bad luck? Bad business, as in treating employees like dirt,  rightfully should  make severe consequences.

Well it is very clear that their many actions have brought them much more  than bad luck. They face fines of over $4 million dollars, and criminal charges, and perhaps jail time.

Months ago, Mr. Nget insisted that “everything is lie” and that his ex-workers were “evil” and when asked if he would rehire them, he said  ”never”. Wait staff standing near by nodded in agreement, perhaps afraid of losing their jobs.

Sunday, just a few days before the arrests, our correspondent asked him what are your plans now? He said: “maybe close everything”.

Maybe go to jail, too.

Now, I would like to know if any authorities are investigating the treatment of employees in nail salons. It seems to me that these places are ripe for exploitation of their immigrant women workers and they seem to  ”smell” of abuse.  Any thoughts?

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NOTE: Received a reply from labor attorney Christopher Marlborough,  on these issues, please be sure read his note below! Especially you lovers of nail salons!

I am a labor attorney in NYC. I was not involved in the Saigon Grill case, but I am glad to see some employers being held accountable for their egregious crimes. Hopefully, a few criminal convictions can serve as a wake up call to employers everywhere. You had better start paying your workers what they deserve, or at least what you are required to pay them by law.

Regarding your questions about nail salons, a few years ago, the Brennan Center published a report about overtime violations in NYC and noted that nail salons are some of the worst offenders. The report, Unregulated Work In The Global City, is available online at this location: http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/unregulated_work_in_the_global_city_full_report/

There has been help for these exploited workers. The organizations Justice Will Be Served! (a coalition composed of the Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops, and 318 Restaurant Workers Union have worked with nail salon employees in NYC to fight for their rights. In addition, The Asian American Legal Defense Fund has taken on several nail salons and gotten significant recoveries for exploited salon workers. See http://www.aaldef.org/article.php?article_id=345.

I just finished reading a fantastic new book on the subject of employment exploitation called titled Wage Theft in America: Why Millions of Working Americans Are Not Getting Paid and What You Can Do About It by Kim Bobo. Kim is the Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice, Inc. a non-profit organization that works to improve working conditions in America on all levels. Her testimony before the U.S. Senate can be found here: http://www.wagetheft.org/

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