A Temecula nail salon was hit with more than $1.2 million in fines for misclassifying workers and failing to pay them regular wages, as well as requiring them to work long hours with few or no breaks and no overtime compensation, a state agency announced Monday.

Young’s Nail Spa on Margarita Road was investigated by the California Department of Industrial Relations after it received complaints related to wage theft and other practices.

The DIR’s Division of Labor Standards uncovered numerous irregularities, one of the most glaring being the shifts that 36 employees were required to work. According to the agency, workers often spent 9 1/2 to 10 hours a day on the job, without meal or rest breaks.

Labor Commissioner Julie Su said the salon operators attempted to get around overtime obligations by classifying the employees as “independent contractors.”

“Using misclassification as a business model not only denies workers of their rightful pay, but also gives the employer an unfair advantage over law-abiding businesses,” Su said. “California law is clear that if employers pay less than the minimum wage, when they are caught, they will be responsible for paying not just the wages owed, but an equivalent amount in liquidated damages plus interest.”

State auditors examined 40 months of business records in their investigation, ultimately determining that Young’s Nail Salon had engaged in misclassification and various forms of wage theft, including failure to pay the minimum wage, as well as failure to maintain workers compensation insurance coverage, according to the Department of Industrial Relations.

The citations totaled $670,040 in reimbursement to the affected workers, and $572,187 in civil penalties, officials said.

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