Salon-or-Spa-Worker.jpg (2149×1159)In 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1513, and it went into effect on January 1, 2016. And wow, were the owners of salons and spas in for a surprise. You see, hair stylists and massage therapists have traditionally been paid by the job, with part of the price of the service going to the establishment and the rest going to the service provider. AB 1513 is now forcing salon and spa owners to completely overhaul their compensation plans.

What Is AB 1513?

Traditionally, anyone who worked for a piece-rate was paid according to how many units they produced, or times they performed a service. For spa and salon workers, what often happened was that salon owners averaged the total dollars earned as divided by total hours worked, and they figured they were in the clear if that average was more than minimum wage. This meant that weeks where few clients came in, hair stylists and massage therapists barely scraped by.

AB 1513 added section 226.2 to the California Labor Code. This section establishes that ‘rest and recovery periods’ must be separately tracked and compensated for piece-rate workers. They must be compensated for non-productive time, too.

When the section says ‘rest and recovery,’ they mean the standard ’10 minutes for 3.5 to 6 hours worked’ that hourly employees get. They don’t have to track every minute that you are on break, as the 10 minutes are all that are getting compensated. If an employer doesn’t provide this rest time, they owe the employee an hour’s worth of the regular wage for every day that the rest period was missed.

For hairstylists and massage therapists, though, the real kicker is the ‘non-productive’ time. You know, the time spent waiting for clients, folding towels, sweeping up hair and helping at the front desk. This must be tracked separately and compensated at a rate that is at least the minimum wage.

How Are They To Be Compensated?

The amount that a person must be paid for rest and recovery times is either the applicable minimum wage or an average hourly rate that is worked out by dividing the total amount earned by the hours worked. The employer has to use the higher amount, and can’t include rest time or overtime in their calculations.

Now, as far as compensating non-productive time, there is an out for employers who don’t want to track the hours separately. They can pay minimum wage for all hours worked and then just add the piece-rate compensation on top of that. If they opt out of that, they do have to determine the hours worked on non-productive activities and list them on their own line on a pay stub. An employer can decide how many hours were worked by keeping records or relying on the employees’ reasonable estimate.’

The rest and recovery periods should have their own line on a wage statement, too.

  Back pay was included in the bill, too. If you have worked as a salon or spa worker since July 2012 and didn’t get paid for rest periods, you should have received either 4% of your total earnings going back to 2012, or all the back pay you were owed for all those missing breaks.

What Can You Do If You Are Not Getting Compensated Fairly?

When salon owners try to weasel out of paying for breaks and non-productive time, you can bring a claim to the Wage Claim Adjudication Unit. Some employers have salon workers sign arbitration agreements that mandate that employees go through a mediator, so you will have to check for one before you file a claim.

You can also file a lawsuit. Just like the manicurists that formed a class action law suit over minimum wage violations, you bring suit against the salon owners. Whichever of these actions you take, you will want to contact an employment-law lawyer for legal advise.

Salon and spa workers have for far too long been short-changed by piece-rate compensation plans. If your boss doesn’t pay you for down time, you can contact Aiman-Smith & Marcy. We’re a smaller sized law firm that specializes in employment law, consumer fraud and class-action lawsuits. We’re here to help you get what you deserve.

Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986