Victory Against the Exploitation of Immigrant Women Workers!

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Los Angeles Superior Court certifies class action lawsuit against Ziba Beauty Center

On March 18th, 2010 Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Solner certified a class action lawsuit against Ziba Beauty Center for widespread violations of California labor laws. The class includes over 315 former and current employees who allege that Ziba took advantage of their workers, mostly immigrant women from South Asia, by failing to pay them for overtime work, permit them to take meal and rest breaks as required by California labor law, in addition to numerous record-keeping violations.

Background

In January 2008, five courageous Ziba workers were fired for refusing to sign an employment contract that contained unacceptable non-compete and trade secret provisions. On January 15th, 2008 the “Ziba 5”, South Asian Network (SAN) and the community protested in front of Ziba Beauty Center demanding an end to severe harassment by Ziba management and bad working conditions.

On February 25, 2008 Ziba Beauty Center workers claimed a huge victory when the center’s representative stated that Ziba will not enforce harsh non-compete provisions in its 2005 and 2008 employee contracts. Furthermore, Ziba Beauty Center acknowledged that the arts of applying Henna and Threading are NOT propriety trade secrets.

On July 19, 2008 former employees of Ziba Beauty Center filed a class action lawsuit alleging that the company refused to pay them overtime or provide them the meal and rest breaks required by California law. Since then, numerous employees of Ziba, including former managers, have testified that Ziba Company policy was not to pay workers overtime, that employees were required to work off-the-clock, and were paid a flat rate of $50 a day while required to work 8-11 hours a day. Ziba employees who spoke out about these policies were fired.

Ziba operates over a dozen stores throughout Southern California and is well-known for supplying beauty services, including those based on South Asian techniques to both celebrities and the general public. Ziba has styled contestants in TV shows including America’s Next Top Model and Extreme Makeover and has provided services to Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Paula Abdul, Naomi Campbell and Salma Hayak. Ziba was also chosen by Madonna to style her for the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.

The court’s recent class certification decision means that, among other things, hundreds of workers at Ziba employed since 2004 are officially part of this lawsuit. The court sent a strong signal that Ziba will be held accountable for its exploitation of immigrant workers.


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